Waitrose, the supermarket chain of the John Lewis Partnership, is to open 39 new stores this calendar year, it was announced today.
The grocer’s expansion plans will create around 3,000 new retail jobs, at 12 full-sized supermarkets and 27 of the group’s new convenience sized stores.
Today’s news follows a strong December trading performance by the retailer both before and after the Christmas holiday.
Waitrose Managing Director Mark Price said: “Our strong Christmas trading figures give us confidence for the year ahead, when we will be continuing to invest in the future growth of our business.”
In the 23 days to December 23rd, total sales at the grocer rose 8.9 per cent year-on-year whilst like-for-like (LFL) sales grew 5.4 per cent, and during the five days between Christmas and December 31st LFLs increased 5.9 per cent while total sales were up 9.7 per cent.
Price added: “In the current climate we’re very pleased to be employing 3,000 new partners within our business.”
New Waitrose supermarkets to be opened this year will include five branches in the Channel Islands and others in Stratford, Raynes Park, Wimbledon, Exeter, Marlow and Newton Mearns in Glasgow.
The first new grocery stores from the partnership to open in 2011 will be two convenience format outlets, in Brompton and Palmers Green, which are due to be unveiled later this month.
In half-year results published in 2010, Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, outlined the group’s ambitions, saying: “The breadth of innovation and investment across the partnership is a testament to the customer focus and ambition of all our partners.
“The partnership’s ownership model enables us to focus on the long term and we will continue to move ahead with our plans.”