Waitrose to grow convenience format
4 July, 2011
Waitrose has unveiled plans to open 20 new ‘Little Waitrose’ stores within the M25 by the end of next year - continuing supermarkets’ relentless push into the convenience food sector.
Waitrose says the plans for its convenience shops represent the biggest branch expansion in its history. The shops will create up to 1,000 jobs and give Waitrose an extra 100,000 square feet of shopping space. They will focus on two areas: food to eat instantly, including sandwiches, salads and deli items; and food to take home and eat later, including upmarket ready meals and fresh meat and vegetables.
The plans follow a trial of the ‘Little Waitrose’ brand in a store on the Old Brompton Road in South Kensington, opened in January. Waitrose's 20th convenience shop will open on Tottenham Court Road this Thursday (7 July), following other openings this year in Enfield Chase, Palmers Green and Wimbledon.
Waitrose managing director Mark Price said the company would remain focused on the M25 area, which houses more than a quarter of its total 257 stores. “London is an important part of our heritage so this is another exciting milestone for our business. It demonstrates our ambition to continue increasing our presence and improving our accessibility to those who wish to shop with us.”
Waitrose has long planned a move into convenience food, and earlier this year announced a new ‘on the go’ range of food. Rivals including Sainsbury’s have developed their own convenience formats, grabbing an increasing share of the lunchtime market in particular.