Following the success of its Essentials range, Waitrose (‘never knowingly undercharged’) is to open a chain of discount stores to compete head on with the pound shops seen on many high streets.
‘After consultation with partners, we decided that while offering excellent value we should not be competing directly on price but more on quality, hence the Guinea brand,’ said chief executive Mark Price, explaining that all items on sale in the shops would come with a £1.05 price tag.
‘We believe we will attract a more discerning customer who is prepared to pay that little bit extra for a superior product,’ continued Mr Price. ‘We still sell packs of fluffy yellow dusters, but they are manufactured from organic cotton, while all our AA alkaline cells are free-range, not battery. And although our own-brand bottled water comes from a tap, you have the reassurance that it comes from a Villeroy and Boch tap at our Berkshire HQ.’
Marketing director Rupert Thomas said that Guinea Land would stock many Waitrose favourites but in smaller quantities, saying he was sure customers would find £1.05 for a matched pair of bath oliver biscuits in attractive packaging to be excellent value. He added that while the Duchy Original range would prove too expensive for the new format, a new Duchy Fake range had been created by the Duchess of York, prepared to recipes obtained by Johann Hari.
In an inspired marketing link, Guinea Land is to sell fairtrade produce from Guinea in its Guinea Guinea range, promising that the entire 5p that makes a guinea a guinea will go to the producers. ‘We did think of adding guinea pigs to the range, which are a marvellous delicacy for those on a budget, till we discovered they came from Peru,’ said Mr Thomas.
An unusual offering for a discount chain is the proposed delivery service for just one guinea per order. ‘We fully understand that some customers would not wish to be seen in Guinea Land, despite its superiority to competitors,’ said Mr Thomas, ‘although why anyone would ever use us who couldn’t afford a domestic to do the shopping is beyond me.’