Supermarket chain Waitrose is to test the water in the convenience store sector with a trial shop to be opened in Nottingham by the end of this year.
The pilot store – and three more which are set to open in the spring – will have fish, meat and cheese counters, as well as a coffee bar and self-service food area.
The chain is hoping to double the size of its business by 2017, but it is currently battling against slowing sales growth and a perception that it is a dearer option in the current climate.
Managing director Mark Price said the new outlets would reflect the strengths of the Waitrose brand.
"We believe you shouldn’t have to compromise on the standard of your shopping experience just because a store is smaller," he said.
"We want to revive that old fashioned personalised service in convenience shops, but within a fresh and contemporary setting."
Waitrose’s latest experiment follows recent trials of "market town" supermarkets in St Neots in Cambridgeshire, Brackley in Northamptonshire, and Buckingham. The stores were designed to put more emphasis on local and fresh produce, and support local farmers and small-scale food producers.
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