Waitrose plans 10,000 jobs boost

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Supermarket chain Waitrose today revealed it will spend £1 billion on ambitious plans to open 100 new stores and create 10,000 jobs.

The grocer, which operates 264 outlets, said it will invest the money over the next three years as part of its ongoing expansion drive.

Managing director Mark Price unveiled the plans to Prime Minister David Cameron today during a meeting at the Tory party conference.

Some 3,000 of the jobs will be in the north of England and Scotland as the chain looks to build on its traditional strength in the south.

Its drive northwards will include building a £35 million regional distribution centre in Chorley, Lancashire, which will open next autumn, creating 600 jobs.

The site will have the capacity to deliver to 80 stores in the north and Scotland.

Mr Price said: "This new distribution centre will support the growth of our business, be a boost for the north-west, create 600 new jobs for the region and make it possible for us to invest £1 billion in Britain over the next three years.

"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."

Until six years ago, its most northerly store was in Newark, Nottinghamshire. But since then the biggest expansion drive in its history, has seen it open seven stores in the north-west, seven in Yorkshire, three in the north-east and several in Scotland.

Waitrose has seen strong growth in recent months helped by opening new outlets, including 23 convenience stores, and is also rolling out its home delivery service inside the M25.

It also plans to open a new warehouse in Milton Keynes next year.