Whittard looks different now

I stopped in at my local Whittard of Chelsea shop today, as I often do after I’m done with the nearby farmers market, and noticed some significant changes. Not just introducing new seasonal products or rearranging stock as they do several times a year – this felt like a more fundamental difference. The prepackaged loose teas, which used to all be the same price regardless of type, are now priced at 3 or 4 different price bands (also the second price increase in less than a year, if my memory serves me). There’s also an expanded loose tea “bar” consisting mostly of varieties I’d never seen in their shops, let alone on the website. Good news is that they seem to be clearing out some of their (discontinued?) lines, so I was able to score 2 pouches of speciality leaf tea for about 30% off.

Tonight I thought to check their website (http://www.whittard.co.uk/) to see if there are any sales or announcements. Turns out a whole swath of teas that have been on the site for years have been removed, including about 2/3 of my wish list, and with zero fanfare. It seems weird to me for a company to alter their range of products without uttering a word to their customer base, and I’m disappointed that the opportunity to try many of them has been suddenly taken away.

(I know there aren’t many regular Steepster users in the UK, but I thought I’d share anyway.)

5 Replies
Angrboda said

That does seem odd. You’d think that if they had decided to change such a large part of their concept, they would at least put a sign up in the shop or something.

Apart from your wishlist taking grave injury, do you think it might be a change for the better or the worse?

It’s good to see a larger variety of the fancier teas in the shop, but the price hikes are not so nice. I checked the website again today, and while a lot of my wish list is still MIA, a lot of products that weren’t there last night are back up. So I figure they’re probably just overhauling the site.

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Lynxiebrat said

I wonder if there has been a change of management? Sometimes that can result in some odd changes.

I dunno; my guess is that it came from higher up on the company ladder. The two shop assistants on duty when I was browsing were putting new price tags on shelves and appeared to be puzzling over instructions from headquarters and wondering whether they were following them correctly.

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Uniquity said

It might be worth contacting them to see what is going on, at least if you care enough to continue shopping with them. I know that Davids Tea used to discontinue teas with zero notice but after a number of customers pointed out that isn’t very fair they have changed the practice. They now give warning and also keep them available online for a period of time. Customer feedback can make a difference, as long as it’s expressed. They might also be able to help you get your hands on some of the discontinued teas you were interested in. Best of luck!

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