The retailer, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership, has entered into an agreement to buy four Somerfield stores at Ashbourne, Melksham, Storrington and Wellington, along with a Co-operative shop in Menai Bridge.
All existing employees will become partners within the John Lewis Partnership. In addition Waitrose will be recruiting up to a further 60 employees for each shop.
The five confirmed shops will take the Waitrose estate to 227 stores across the UK, providing over 50,000 sq.ft of additional selling space, and will increase its presence in regions where Waitrose is currently under represented.
The acquisition means that Waitrose will be able to open its first shop in North Wales, second in Derbyshire, third in Wiltshire and sixth in West Sussex by Spring 2010.
Waitrose Director of Development, Nigel Keen, comments, “It’s great to welcome employees from Somerfield and The Co-operative into the partnership and we’re looking forward to introducing more customers to our fabulous food and high standards of customer service.”
All stores will be opened by spring next year. In January this year, Waitrose purchased 13 stores from The Co-operative Group, arising out of the Group’s acquisition of Somerfield. These stores were all converted to Waitrose shops and opened between April and June. By the end of 2009, Waitrose will have opened 24 branches, taking the total number of stores across the UK to 222.
— IndiaRetailing Bureau