Waitrose’s first convenience store in Wiltshire, which is set to open in Chippenham later this week, received 873 applications for just 36 available jobs, it was revealed today.
Opening on Thursday April 14th, the new outlet is part of the grocer’s ambitious plans to expand into the convenience market in 2011, and it is expected to be one of 300 smaller format shops opened by the retailer over the next ten years.
A statement from the company said that employees will be able to access a range of personal development courses run by the John Lewis Partnership’s Learning Centre, and will automatically become Partners in the business as part of its employee-ownership model.
Today’s announcement also highlights the huge demand for jobs in the UK, with the latest Office for National Statistics data indicating that 2.53 million people were out of work in the three months to the end of January.
South-west England has one of the lowest levels of unemployment in the UK - 169,000 people are without a job in the region, representing 6.3 per cent of those living in the area - but the ratio of applications to job positions for the new Waitrose store shows how tough the jobs market remains even there.
Chris White, Waitrose Store Manager at Chippenham, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications and the calibre of those applicants has been fantastic.
“We only wish that we could create even more jobs in the area.
“I’m confident that our store will make a really positive contribution to Chippenham, not only through the creation of jobs in the local area but through investing in Borough Parade in the heart of Chippenham and supporting local causes.”