Waitrose's star rises in Japan

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The Independent Online

Waitrose has seen exports to Japan soar by a third so far this year, boosted by a rise in interest in British foods around the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics.

The UK grocer, led by Mark Price, has been exporting its products to Japan for 15 years, where its main customers are the Peacock Stores and Seicomart supermarket chains. Sales have been particularly buoyant since February, driven by demand for traditional British food such as tea, biscuits, baked beans and gherkins.

Duchy Originals – the brand founded by Prince Charles and now licensed exclusively by Waitrose – is also very popular.

The sales growth is in sharp contrast to rival Tesco. Britain's biggest grocer has 117 stores in the Japan but said last month it is paying Aeon £40m to take the struggling business off its hands.

Japan was Waitrose's first overseas market, and it now exports food to more than 30 countries.