Waitrose issues profit warning following 'unprecedented investment' in the business

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

August 1, 2014 | 2 min read

Waitrose managing director Mark Price has warned investors that an “unprecedented investement” in the business over the past year will have an impact on the profit it reports in its interim results on 1 September.

In a weekly trading update, the retailer said it expected a 4.5 per cent sales growth for the six months to the end of 26 July.

During the period Waitrose opened 15 new stores compared with only four for the same time a year earlier. It has also invested heavily in its online offering and experimented with new marketing initiatives including a branded content partnership with Channel 4.

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In April it launched a breakfast series presented by Lisa Snowden and Steve Jones which ran for 12 weeks in a prime Saturday morning slot on Channel 4.

A few months earlier it also aired a series of online talk shows hosted by Michael Parkinson via its own online TV channel.

Price said: "We are investing to enable us to compete effectively in this very tough market and to build a strong business for the future. That's why we're putting substantial investment into offering great value to our customers. As well as price-matching and more promotions, we're giving myWaitrose members a fantastic deal on butter and milk without cutting the price we pay to our dedicated group of British dairy farmers".

A Kantar Worldpanel report released earlier this week revealed Waitrose was struggling to retain its share of the grocery market as Aldi share increased from 3.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

Waitrose only managed to increase its share by 0.1 per cent to 4.9 per cent.

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