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Waitrose draws up plans to open 300 small stores

UPMARKET grocer Waitrose yesterday unveiled plans to take a bigger share of the convenience store market, saying it could open up to 300 smaller format stores,&nbsp; stepping up its challenge to top end rival Marks &amp; Spencer .<br /><br />Waitrose, part of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, also said it would open more stores in motorway service stations.<br /><br />Managing Director Mark Price said: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s about democratising access to Waitrose,&rdquo; adding&nbsp; the chain had identified around 6.5m potential customers currently unable to easily access one of its stores.<br /><br />The grocer is also in talks with Boots, which could see the pair selling their products in each other&rsquo;s stores.&nbsp; Price said that showcasing Waitrose lines across Boots stores had &ldquo;the potential to do a huge amount&rdquo;.<br /><br />Boots said yesterday it will rebrand the 13 pharmacies it runs within Waitrose stores under its own logo.