British food retailer Waitrose has announced it will be opening 14 new stores in 2015, made up of seven convenience stores and seven supermarkets, in order to boost the supermarket’s presence in Greater London and the Home Counties.
The supermarket chain, part of the John Lewis partnership, has cited that these new branches will create hundreds of new jobs, in addition to redeveloping and relocating many of the grocer’s current Waitrose stores. A spokesperson from the store described how the company focused largely on Waitrose convenience shops in London during 2014, “but in 2015, we are looking at opportunities within the M25 and surrounding counties.”
As the supermarket prepares to rev its expansion plan, the first new stores will open in Wollaton, Nottinghamshire, and Horsham, West Sussex; a store which is a relocation of the existing branch. A further three stores are set to be opened across Surrey, Saffron, Walden and Scotland in the summer, followed by new stores in Oxford, London, Hampshire, Surrey and East Sussex in the autumn.
Waitrose’s growth is expected to continue throughout the year up until 2016, with new plans across other counties, such as Cornwall, Nottinghamshire, Shrewsbury and Worcester.
The company’s recent growth plans have been introduced following positive Christmas sales results, with like-for-like sales up by 2.8% throughout the Christmas period for the up-market grocer.
These expansion plans follow the recent trend of store closures from the likes of Tesco and Morrisons, with Sainsbury’s having this week confirmed the loss of 500 jobs at its store support centres.
Waitrose is now looking to outperform its competitors as grocers anticipate a turbulent year in 2015. With fellow Big Four stores experiencing the effects of declining profits and falling market shares, expansion plans will prove essential for Waitrose to get ahead of competitors and move forward into the new financial year.