Electrically retractable canopies are installed “just in time”

The challenge

Waitrose’s move towards a  “just in time” operation led to more lorries making deliveries directly to supermarkets, which put pressure on space for storing goods until they could be moved to the aisles.


The solution

To design & install electrically retractable canopies at nine stores across the UK where goods could be efficiently unloaded and safely held.

Key facts 

Project Overview

Towards the end of 2011 Waitrose’s popularity was on a continual rise and their stores were getting busier.  This coincided with businesses adopting the trend for a‘just in time’ inventory strategy to save money on storage and streamline the supply chain.  The change in operations enabled the retailer to increase their selling floor space and help maximise sales.

However, this led to more lorries arriving with deliveries and very little space to store the produce.  The central location of their supermarkets also posed a problem as it meant that service yards were small so there was little room to manoeuvre vehicles let alone offload them. 

Our retractable structures were the perfect solution, allowing lorries to spin around, unload into an extended canopy and drive off to their next destination.  Staff could then slowly bring the goods into stores, confident that they were not leaving them exposed to the elements and at risk of being damaged.  Waitrose opted for the electrical function, operated at the touch of a button, so that any staff member could use the facility with ease. 

We built a good working relationship and reputation with Waitrose and have more recently been working with them again as they now look to increase the size of their Newark store further in spite of the rapid rise in online shopping. 

Working alongside principal contractor, CTS Shopfitting, we have serviced the original canopy and made some modifications so it is fit for purpose with the new store layout.  Although the size is small at 3.2m wide x 9m long x 3m internal high, the canopy was covering one of two of the original store doors, which were in constant operation receiving deliveries. This presented us with a significant challenge but we worked closely with CTS to keep everything running smoothly and our H&S remained on point throughout. 

“The guys from CopriSystems were great on site and just got on with the job in spite of having to adapt to a different working environment and challenging circumstances posed by the coronavirus.  Nothing was an issue for them.” Richard Share, Site Manager, CTS Shopfitting