Waitrose is ramping up its expansion with plans to launch 14 stores from the spring of next year, creating 1,500 jobs.
The upmarket grocer said the new openings will include five supermarkets in towns such as Truro in Cornwall and Worcester in the Midlands.
They also comprise of nine new little Waitrose convenience shops, one of them in Leatherhead in Surrey and another in developer CIT Group’s South Bank Tower, which is due to complete next year.
Together, they will add almost 200,000 sq ft of selling space to the estate after adding almost the same amount space this year.
Its expansion comes at a time when Britain’s big four supermarkets have brought their expansion plans almost to a standstill in favour of investing in their existing stores and further price cuts to counter dwindling footfall.
Waitrose has not been immune to fierce supermarket price wars, with like-for-like sales down 1.3 per cent in the first half of its financial year – the first fall in seven years. The grocer, part of the John Lewis Partnership, has been introducing features such as welcome desks, wine bars and juice bars to lure customers into its stores.
The retailer's director of development, Nigel Keen, said: “At a time when many retailers’ estates are contracting, we are delighted to be opening new shops around the country and giving 1,500 people the opportunity to become partners in our business.
“Many of these new shops will go beyond the traditional supermarket, delivering exciting modern shopping experiences, which tap into the growing demand for grazing and casual dining,” he added.
Waitrose currently has 346 supermarkets and convenience stores across the country as well as 27 shops in Welcome Break motorway service stations. The retailer also opened a 80,000 sq ft warehouse at Coulsdon this year to boost its online capacity within the London area by a third.