Magazine article Marketing

Editor's Comment: Waitrose's Value Proposition

Magazine article Marketing

Editor's Comment: Waitrose's Value Proposition

Article excerpt

What will Waitrose's customers make of the supermarket's decision to launch a lower-priced range to rival Tesco Value and Sainsbury's Basic offerings? Will the Essential line cheapen the brand? Waitrose's managing director, Mark Price, is keen that the 1400-strong range is not seen as a value line. Instead, he calls it 'affordable'.

He may be cross with me for saying this, but I'm not sure there is a difference. They both communicate the same idea. Moreover, will this positioning convince Price's staple of middle-class customers that he is not taking Waitrose downmarket, so they don't decamp to Marks & Spencer in protest?

If they did, they may not find much difference. Last week M&S began a high-profile campaign to highlight its value range. One can't move in its food halls without coming across labels declaring that a product is a 'Wise Buy'. M&S has also begun aggressively discounting in the lunchtime market with its offer of a pounds 2 'meal deal'.

A plethora of opinion pieces over the past year have given reasons why brands should not do exactly what Waitrose and M&S are doing, which is perhaps why both are going out of their way to remind consumers that these 'value' brands are not a compromise on quality. …

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