Waitrose plans expansion and 2,000 new jobs

Kasmira Jefford
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Top chef Heston Blumenthal creates ranges for Waitrose
Waitrose announced plans yesterday to create 2,000 new jobs as the upmarket supermarket continues to expand its presence and grab a greater slice of the grocery market.

The chain, owned by the John Lewis Partnership, will open 14 new stores from spring this year including seven Little Waitrose convenience stores and seven supermarkets, including one in London’s King’s Cross.

Waitrose has already opened two stores this month in Egham and Walbrook. It is also relocating one supermarket in Horsham and carrying out extensions at Saffron Walden and Bayswater.

These new stores together with a new online warehouse in Coulsdon are expected to create 2,000 jobs.

Waitrose has fared better than the big four supermarkets thanks to a sharp polarisation in the market that has seen premium-end grocers as well as budget stores Aldi and Lidl win over more customers.

According to Kantar data sales at Waitrose rose by 6.6 per cent over the 12-week Christmas period, taking its market share to 5.1 per cent.

However it has not been immune to the cut-throat competition and posted a 9.4 per cent drop in first half operating profits last year.

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