Waitrose snub is a wake-up call for city

I can fully understand some people wanting to stick two fingers up to Waitrose after it was revealed by The Sentinel today that it has decided against building a store in Stoke-on-Trent.

Apparently, the upmarket supermarket chain can’t find a suitable site in the Potteries because, according to a senior council officer, the demographic profile is wrong.

In other words, we don’t have enough money.

“I don’t think people in this part of the city want a Waitrose supermarket anyway,” said Ann Bowers of the Hanford Village Residents’ Association who seems to have missed the point.

Basically, the likes of Waitrose – presumably having done its market research – doesn’t think the good folk of the ST postcode area have enough dosh to warrant them opening a store in the city.

I don’t blame them. With our low-wage economy, high unemployment rate and levels of deprivation Stoke-on-Trent doesn’t comes across as being awash with disposable income.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not one for talking our city down. However, it is important that people realise that we still have a long way to go in terms of regeneration.

Having a Waitrose store may not strictly constitute success but not having one is clearly an indicator that Stoke-on-Trent remains a poor relation to other comparable cities.