Commercial property Waitrose is to expand its empire by opening 100 more outlets and creating 10,000 jobs in a £1 billion investment scheme.
The commercial property supermarket chain currently has 264 outlets. Many of the new commercial properties will be in the north of England and Scotland, creating around 3,000 jobs.
During the last six months, the commercial property supermarket chain has seen the biggest growth drive in its history, with seven new stores opened in the north-west, seven in Yorkshire, three in the north-east and several in Scotland. Prior to this growth drive in the North, the upmarket chain’s most northerly store was in Newark, Nottinghamshire.
The expansion of the commercial property supermarket chain includes the opening of a £35 million regional distribution centre (RDC) in Chorley, Lancashire, which will be up and running by autumn 2012, creating a total of 600 new jobs in the area.
The 360,000 sq ft Chorley warehouse and 50,000sq ft of office space with accompanying vehicle maintenance unit will allow Waitrose the capacity to service up to 80 stores as part of its growing portfolio of shops in the North of England and Scotland.
The recruitment process for warehouse operatives, drivers, office and catering staff will begin in spring 2012.
Mark Price, Managing Director of the grocer, unveiled the plans to Prime Minister David Cameron during a meeting at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
Price explained the significance of the move and detailed the development of the 30-acre site in Buckshaw Village, Chorley and the company’s future investment plans.
He explained: “The new distribution centre will support the growth of our business, be a boost for the north-west, create 600 jobs for the region and make it possible for us to invest £1 billion in Britain over the next three years.”
He further added: “The new shops we are now planning will mean 10,000 more jobs and £1 billion of additional business going to producers, farmers and growers in the British food industry.”
Mr Cameron reacted optimistically about the news, as Price pointed out the new regional distribution centre is expected to be fully operational by autumn 2012.
“This £1 billion investment is great news for the north of England and the country as whole,” said the Prime Minister.
“The new regional distribution centre will give a boost to Chorley and the surrounding areas, not just by creating 600 jobs immediately, but in paving the way for tens of thousands more.”
As part of the £1 billion expansion, the supermarket chain is ‘actively seeking’ locations for stores in East Lancashire. The only confirmed store opening in February 2012 is in nearby is in Walton-le-Dale. The new store will create a further 200 jobs.
Further to this, commercial property supermarket chain Waitrose has seen strong growth in recent months, helped by opening 23 convenience stores. The commercial property supermarket chain is also rolling out its home delivery service inside the M25.
Nonetheless work is going on to expand the firm elsewhere in the country. A Waitrose spokesman confirmed, “We are always seeking suitable sites for development as part of our expansion including the East Lancashire areas.”
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