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Waitrose 'will create 2,000 jobs this year'.

SUPERMARKET Waitrose said it will create 2,000 jobs this year as it bucks the recent trend among its bigger rivals to pare back store openings.

The grocer, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership, is planning to open seven new supermarkets and seven convenience shops from spring this year, on top of two shops already opened this month.

With the chain also relocating one supermarket and carrying out two major extensions to existing branches, the expansion plan will add almost 230,000 sq ft of selling space to its estate.

Waitrose has 336 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 60 convenience branches and another 29 shops at Welcome Break locations. Tesco recently scrapped T 49 stores from its store pipeline, while Sainsbury's is mothballing a number of schemes and plans to reduce the amount of money spent on new space over the next three years.

Waitrose has been one of the winners of the ongoing supermarket price wars that has seen the big four grocers squeezed between premium grocers at one end and discounters such as Aldi and Lidl at the other. The upmarket grocer's market share improved to 5.1% in the 12 weeks to January 4.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 28, 2015
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