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Anyone who has ever experienced the 24-hour pleasures of a 7-Eleven or Lawson in Tokyo will know just how good a convenience store can be. But the UK, land of the run-down corner shop, has never quite got the format finessed.

In June, however, upmarket grocery chain Waitrose launched a new, small-format convenience store in Cambridge, determined to crack the market and make a difference. “We visited Tokyo a couple of years ago and it influenced us a lot,” says Diana Hunter (pictured right), director of store development.

One of 231 stores in the…

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