AN UNLIKELY corporate row has broken out between Waitrose and Warburtons that has seen the nation’s favourite crumpet pulled from the shelves of the middle class’ supermarket of choice.
Waitrose made the call after the Lancashire bakery’s products “didn’t meet our expectations” according to a report in the Telegaph.
Warburtons’ chairman James Warburton meanwhile told the newspaper that “quality is paramount” and that “we put an awful lot of care into the 2m products we bake and deliver to over 19,000 stores across the country every single day.”
A Waitrose spokesman said the company remained “open” to the idea of working with the family firm once again in the future.
In a sign of the economic times, Waitrose lagged competitors over Christmas – with sales slipping year on year, contrasted with more than 20 per cent upticks for discount favourites Lidl and Aldi.
John Lewis, which owns Waitrose, told markets that sales were down per cent year on year in the first half of its financial year, despite an uptick in customer numbers – suggesting punters are becoming more cost-conscious in what they pick up off the shelves. ‘Basket sizes’ – effectively a measure of average spend – was down by a fifth from pandemic-era highs.
Operating profit at the grocer fell by £93m to £432m in the first half of the year, but bosses said cost savings had gone some way to alleviate inflationary pressures.