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LONDON - Waitrose, the specialty supermarket division of the United Kindgom's mutually owned John Lewis Partnership, yesterday announced plans to double in size over the next five to 10 years, according to Reuters.
In March the company purchased 19 stores that William Morrison Supermarkets was compelled to sell when it bought Safeway. Although the acquisition was Waitrose's largest to date, the company says that was just the beginning of its longer-term strategy.
"This acquisition represents a major step change in our expansion program," said Steven Esom, Waitrose's managing director. "Over the next five to 10 years, Waitrose's size will double."
The retailer has opened 30 stores in the past five years, increasing its market share to 3.8 percent, says London-based industry researcher TNS. In southern England, where most of Waitrose's 145 stores are located, that share soars to around 8 percent.
In the English county of Cheshire, the company yesterday reopened the first of the 19 stores bought from Morrison. The store had been renovated to fit Waitrose's format. The retailer said it expected the new stores to boost sales to 3.3 billion pounds (U.S.$6 billion) from 2.7 billion pounds (U.S.$5 billion) over the coming 18 months.