Waitrose has announced plans to open 39 news stores in 2011. The move will create a 280-store chain and 3,000 jobs.
More than two thirds (27) will be convenience outlets including Old Brompton and Palmers Green in London, both opening this month.
The expansion follows strong Christmas and New Year trading. In the 23 days to 23 December 2010, Waitrose’s sales rose by 5.4% on a like-for-like basis.
In the five days in which Waitrose traded between Christmas and New Year, sales climbed further – up 5.9% on a like-for-like basis, driven by a strong New Year’s Eve and sales of Champagne and party food.
Of the 12 supermarkets Waitrose is adding in 2011, five are branches in the Channel Islands, which will open between February and April. Other locations include Stratford, Raynes Park, Wimbledon, Exeter, Marlow and Newton Mearns (Glasgow).
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 current climate we’re very pleased to be employing 3,000 new Partners within our business.”
Waitrose said the new jobs will include management and non-management roles, as well as food specialists in meat, cheese, fish and wines.