Supermarkets are 20 years out of date says Waitrose boss
Waitrose boss highlights the pressure on Tesco by highlighting “fundamental change” in grocery market
Yahoo Finance UK/fotolia – Sort out your mortgage while getting a pint of milk
In an interview to mark the launch of Waitrose’s annual Food and Drink Report, Mr Price said the shift in behaviour was characterised by time-poor consumers buying food on the go and for the evening ahead.
“People are buying food for now,” he said. “The notion that you are going to go and push a trolley around for the week is a thing of the past. It is fundamentally changing the market.
“All these trends are effectively pulling people out of big box, out-of-town retailing. That is really the challenge that the ‘big four’ are facing. They have an estate for how people shopped two decades ago.”
The comments from Mr Price highlight the pressure on Tesco as it prepares to post interim results on Thursday.
[ Tesco shares: basket case or bargain? ]
[ Tesco sales worst in the grocery industry ]
The stark changes in consumer behaviour during the last year are portrayed by the Waitrose report, with sales of products designed for breakfast-on-the-move up 10pc.
“The days of sitting down as a family of four to eat Kelloggs Cornflakes is much less relevant,” Mr Price said.
The Waitrose boss said that supermarkets were still being built for the “old world”.
He added: “This is a once in 50 to 60 year change The last big change was the supermarket [in the 1950s]. I think what you are seeing now is as fundamental.”
The radical changes in the market have combined with price deflation to push sales down sharply for traditional supermarkets.
The latest industry sales data from Kantar shows Tesco sales fell by 3.7pc in the 12 weeks to October 12, with Sainsbury’s declining by 3.1pc.
In contrast, Waitrose sales are up 6.8pc, the strongest performance in the sector behind the discounters Aldi and Lidl.
However, Mr Price said these pressures were not driven by the discounters, but by lifestyle changes following the financial crisis and developments in technology.
“People are managing their life in a much more efficient way,” he said.
The Waitrose report shows that food waste has fallen by 21pc over the last seven years. Meanwhile, separate data has shown that three in four people do not know what they are going to eat for dinner at 4pm in the afternoon.
These emerging trends have boosted sales for convenience stores, with one in four people visiting a convenience store such as Tesco Express once a day according to Waitrose.