Supermarket chain Waitrose has today confirmed it will begin its roll-out of its new convenience format stores in the London area over the next year and a half.
A trial ‘Little Waitrose’ store was launched in South Kensington earlier this year, and by the end of 2012 the retailer hopes to have opened another 20 of these outlets within the M25.
So far Waitrose has opened 19 smaller format outlets, with its 20th being unveiled on Tottenham Court Road on July 7th 2011, but this move shows confidence in the Little Waitrose brand.
The latest store opening programme will be the fastest since the company opened its first store in Acton in 1904, and is estimated to create around 1,000 new jobs.
Mark Price, Waitrose Managing Director, said: “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 traditionally been very London-centric, with more than a quarter of its existing 257 stores located in or around the capital but it is trying to spread its operations more evenly across the UK.
The retailer hopes to unveil as many as 300 convenience stores in the country in the next decade and has hired property agent King Sturge to locate appropriate sites of between 3,000 sq ft and 7,000 sq ft from the M4 up to the Scottish borders.
Before Christmas this year two full-size supermarkets will be launched by the grocer in Wimbledon and Stratford along with five further small shop, creating more than 600 jobs.