Wait a minute, Waitrose

Hot off the press is the news that Waitrose has taken over some Woolworths sites, including one in Islington. I’m assuming that this is the big Woolworths in Chapel Market/Liverpool Road at the Angel, not the one at Archway.

Everyone loves Waitrose don’t they – all the lovely food, ethical sourcing, partnership schemes, and relatively uncrowded stores. What could fit better with the outside world’s perception of small l liberal Islington than a Waitrose. Surely good news? Maybe not.

So why am I worried? Firstly, the Woolworths site is already sandwiched (no pun intended) between an expanded Marks & Spencers foodstore, and a large Sainsburys. Any independent food vendors, whether shops or the stalls in Chapel Market, who’ve survived competition from those two may yet fail with Waitrose on the scene too. Do we want that?

There is already a perfectly fine Waitrose at Nags Head, Holloway, a short bus-ride from the Angel, with a large car-park. Waitrose have obviously decided their business can survive with a second outlet in the borough, but what about their Nags Head neighbours? If Waitrose shoppers from N1 no longer go to Holloway, then the other shops there will lose out.

And what about Woolworths? It’s not Waitrose’s fault if Woolworths chose to sell up this site but not everyone in Islington falls into the Waitrose demographic. Woolworths is always heaving because it provides a lot of goods that Islington families appreciate: popular toys, kids’ clothes, home ware, music and DVDs, all at affordable prices. Their pink fairy wand with a flashing star wasn’t exactly my taste but proved a big hit for my niece’s birthday. I’ve picked up everything from tea towels to tools there, and while I can afford to switch to Waitrose; not everyone can. Where are those customers supposed to go when Woolworths closes?

So yes, I may enjoy the occasional bottle of Waitrose bubbly. But no, I won’t be opening any to celebrate this particular development.



  1. graham said

    How wrong you are. Waitrose is just what we need. It is cheaper and better quality than M&S and the same price and much better quality than sainsburys.

    good luck to them.


  2. bridgetfox said

    Thank you for your comment, Graham. I’m not anti-Waitrose, my point is that we already have a splendid one just up the road, and that Woolworths will be missed by many.

    Perhaps you’re right, and M&S and Sainsbury’s rather than the independent food shops will be the losers. If so, at least it should reduce the queues….

  3. Fred said

    I agree with you Bridget. I and my three daughters agree that we will feel lost without Woolworths. Why do we need three food supermarkets in a row? It’s true that Waitrose is better quality than Sainsburys and cheaper than M&S, but so what? There are already three Waitroses within two miles of the Angel, so I would imagine that potential Waitrose customers are already using those stores, and a fourth store will not increase their revenues.

  4. Terri said

    Is there a petition to keep Woolwoths open in islington?
    I dont mind a Waitrose, but to replace a Woolworths, a more practical store store is not acceptable.

  5. […] group. (One of Ben Kinsella’s last acts was to join it.) I’ve had lots of emails supporting my view that while Waitrose is great, we don’t want to lose our Woolworths. For a lot of Islington […]

  6. David said

    Brilliant – Waitrose will take some of the pressure off the other two supermarkets in the area, which are – god knows – mentally busy most of the time. Consumer demand says this is a good thing by Waitrose. I’m looking forward to it.

    Woolworths sells tat – pretty much all of it can be had in other shops in the area. Games / DVDs at HMV / Borders. Clothes, household goods – Chapel Market shops and stalls have it all.

    Perhaps it’s sugary sweets can’t be had in such volume elsewhere – but not the biggest loss!

  7. Mary said

    This is actually a decision by Woolworths – nobody forced them to sell the site to Waitrose. So why is your headline suggesting that Waitrose is somehow in the wrong? Is it by any chance because you think ‘Wait a minute Woolworths’ doesn’t convey the ‘of the people’ credentials that you are so keen to display?
    Personally I’ll rather miss Woolworths too, but what exactly are you suggesting Waitrose is supposed to do about that? Leave the building empty? And I don’t recall you being so concerned about small local traders when the Lib Dems were stopping people from parking for ten minutes outside shops. Just ask the shop owners in Essex Road.

  8. Fastidious answer back in return of this difficulty with real arguments and describing all about that.

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