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Waitrose announces growth strategy for 2016 with 1,500 new jobs to be created

Grocery chain Waitrose plans to create 1,500 new jobs with the opening of 14 new outlets across the UK in 2016

From spring 2016 onwards, Waitrose plans to open five new supermarkets, nine Little Waitrose convenience shops, and increase personnel at its e-commerce division at Coulsdon in South London to service customers of the new outlets.

The five supermarkets on the slate include Uttoxeter (Staffordshire), High Wycombe (Buckinghamshire), Solihull (West Midlands), all of which will open in the spring, with Truro (Cornwall) and Worcester following in the summer.

The Little Waitrose locations are confirmed for South Bank Tower in central London and Leatherhead in Surrey during the summer. The remaining seven unconfirmed locations will follow throughout the course of the year.

The e-commerce expansion will increase the current workforce from 400 to over 700. Waitrose’ current goal is to grow its online capacity by a third. This translates to 20,000 orders per week and over a million annually as the division services customers within the M25.

Nigel Keen, Waitrose director of development, commented:

“At a time when many retailers’ estates are contracting, we’re delighted to be opening new shops around the country and giving 1,500 people the opportunity to become Partners [staff] in our business. Many of these new shops will go beyond the traditional supermarket, delivering exciting modern shopping experiences which tap into the growing demand for grazing and casual dining.”

Some of these “modern shopping” features are already present in certain Waitrose locations. These include: wine bars, welcome desks, juice bars, and areas for ‘grazing and informal dining’. Its Bath and Battersea Nine Elms branches became the first national supermarket outlets to install freshly-made sushi counters in partnership with Kelly Deli.

The inclusion of these new innovative features in shopping seems to be working for Waitrose. Although currently ranked between sixth and seventh in market share, Waitrose has shown constant growth since 2009 and is often ranked number one in customer satisfaction studies and consumer guide magazines. This puts Waitrose in a strong position for expansion. In addition to the new stores planned for 2016, the company also opened fourteen new stores in 2015.

The pre-expansion numbers for Waitrose across the UK include 346 supermarkets, 62 Little Waitrose convenience stores, and 27 shops at Welcome Break motorway services locations. Waitrose also operates the food hall at the John Lewis department stores in Oxford Street and Bluewater. Internationally, Waitrose has seven Middle-Eastern locations.

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