A new ecommerce grocery depot will form part ambitious growth plans for Waitrose this year. In total, the supermarket arm of the John Lewis Partnership expects to create 2,000 new jobs and add 230,000 square feet to its existing operations.
The existing Waitrose fulfilment centre in Acton, west London, is due to be closed this spring and is likely to be the subject of a compulsory purchase order in 2017 to make way for the HS2 high-speed rail network. The new ecommerce grocery depot, which is described as having “twice the capacity” of the Acton facility is being sited in Coulsdon, south London, and is due to open in March. According to Waitrose it will employ 450 people by January 2016.
Waitrose has said it will open 14 shops across the country this year, including seven new supermarkets and seven new convenience stores. It has already opened two stores this month. Waitrose director of development, Nigel Keen, said: “Our expansion story continues as we take the brand to more customers and invest in our omni-channel approach.”
For the five weeks ending Saturday 3 January 2015, total sales at Waitrose (excluding fuel) were £728 million. Which was an increase of 7% on the equivalent period last year. Like-for-like sales increased by 2.8 per cent.