Waitrose opens Dubai store

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Waitrose today opened its first store outside the UK, in Dubai, the retailer announced.

The supermarket chain, owned by department store group John Lewis, launched the 55,000sq ft store in Dubai Mall, one of the world's largest shopping malls.

Another 26,000sq ft Waitrose will open in the Dubai Marina Mall early next month, with more stores planned for the region, a spokesman said.

The two stores will employ around 300 staff and "signal a fresh expansion" for the supermarket, which entered into a licensing agreement with Fine Fare Food Market LLC (FFFM) to use the Waitrose brand.

FFFM will run the daily operation of the stores supported by Waitrose in the UK.

Waitrose said the new stores would "embrace the ambience of Waitrose" while catering to the local communities.

They will sell fresh food and groceries and offer a delicatessen, meat, fish and cheese counters alongside a selection of John Lewis homewares.

The meat counter will sell only certified halal food, but pork products will be on sale in a separate room within the store, the spokesman said.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said: "Growing our business internationally through a strong strategic partnership with FFFM will support our long term growth plans.

"We share the same values and high standards when it comes to quality food and service and look forward to developing our relationship in the future.

"The Dubai Mall and Marina Mall are undoubtedly among the most exciting and innovative retail developments in the world and we are delighted to be represented in both. They are set to become important retail centres, building on Dubai's growing reputation as the international shopping destination."

Waitrose follows in the footsteps of other retailers venturing abroad.

Tesco has opened stores in 14 countries including Japan, China, Poland and the US.