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As of January 2011, Waitrose has over 240 branches across the United Kingdom and a 4.2% share of the market, making it the 6th largest grocery retailer in the UK. The company has a Royal Warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to Queen Elizabeth II. As of 1 January 2011 Waitrose has a Royal Warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to Prince Charles. It formerly held a Royal Warrant for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

The company has a long-term goal of opening 400 branches across the UK by 2017 and doubling its revenue to £8bn by 2016.

History (Extracted from
When Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor opened their first small grocery shop at 263 Acton Hill, West London in 1904, little did they know that within a century the company would have become one of the country's leading food retailers employing over 37,000 people.

The John Lewis Partnership acquired the business in 1937, opening the first Waitrose supermarket in 1955. Today there are 243 branches, dedicated to offering quality, value and customer service.

In 1955, the chain opened its first supermarket in Streatham, London and continued to expand throughout London and the South East during the 1960s. In the 1970s, Waitrose opened branches in Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire. In 1981, counter service was introduced for fresh meat, fish and cheese, and in 1983, Waitrose became the first major supermarket chain to sell organic food.

In 2000, Waitrose purchased 11 stores from rival Somerfield. In order for Morrison’s to meet competition regulations following its acquisition of Safeway, it was required to sell 52 of the Safeway stores. The first batch of 19 stores were sold to Waitrose in 2004,[12] and in August 2005, it purchased a further five Safeway stores. This took the firm as far north as Durham (now closed), fitting with its long term strategy to evolve into a national retailer. In December 2005, Waitrose also bought another store at Biggin Hill, south east London, from Morrison's. In July 2006, Waitrose announced it had purchased another six stores from Morrison's and also a former Safeway regional distribution centre in Aylesford, Kent.

In June 2008, Waitrose announced the acquisition of four Woolworth's store sites for conversion to Waitrose branches in Chiswick, Battersea (Clapham Junction), Edgware Road (Marylebone) and Chapel Market, Islington. All these stores are now trading.

In January 2009, Waitrose announced that they had acquired 13 sites from The Co-operative Group. One site in Melksham, Wiltshire was bought from Somerfield and opened on 18 March 2010.

The firm signed a deal with Alliance Boots which will see Boots operating branded pharmacies and retailing health and beauty products through Waitrose stores; in return Boots stores will sell Waitrose food products.

In September 2009, Duchy Originals, the struggling organic food business started by Prince Charles was rescued by Waitrose, who has agreed to an exclusive deal to stock the range, and to pay a small fee to charity. In return, Prince Charles has graced a number of Waitrose stores, and dined with senior Waitrose executives and their spouses.[16] In August 2010, the Duchy range was re-launched with many new lines under the Duchy Originals from Waitrose brand.

In 2010, Waitrose announced the acquisition of five supermarkets in the Channel Islands, three on Jersey and two on Guernsey, from Sandpiper CI, subject to the agreement of regulatory authorities. Waitrose have already been supplying the stores over the last two years with over 3,000 Waitrose own label products. The stores began reopening as Waitrose from February 2011. Wednesday 4 August 2011 Waitrose opened a new store in Littlehampton.

There are Waitrose shops throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Locations range from high streets to edge of town sites and vary in size from just 7,000 square feet to approximately 56,000 feet. The John Lewis Partnership as a whole employs nearly 68,000 Partners and has a turnover in excess of £6 billion. As well as Waitrose, it runs 26 John Lewis department stores throughout the UK, several manufacturing concerns and a farm.

It is also of vital importance to Waitrose so that the provenance and traceability of the food that is on their shelves. Each of their buyers is an expert in his or her own field. Their job is to seek out the best sources of the best quality food and unusual ingredients that can't be found in other supermarkets. Much of their time is spent with the farmers, growers and suppliers, building relationships based on trust and respect. Wherever possible our buyers buy British. Increasingly, they are also sourcing local produce from small growers and suppliers close to individual Waitrose stores.

A partnership
Unlike other major supermarkets, Waitrose isn't owned by shareholders and the City. Instead, as part of the John Lewis Partnership, it's owned by everyone who works for the Partnership. (That's why Waitrose staff are called 'partners'.) And every year they share the profits that would normally go to shareholders. As you would expect this produces an extraordinary high level of committment amongst those who work in our stores.

Partnership reputation has been built, above all, on the quality and freshness of our their food products. Waitrose is committed to bringing the best quality food.

Watch the new John Lewis Never Knowingly Undersold TV advert showcasing the role the electrical products have played in their customers' lives over the years. This is played against a backdrop of iconic music tracks. The advert consists of seven scenes, each representing a different era, ending with two teenagers enjoying a performance of "Shine On" by the Kooks on the latest internet enabled Sony Internet TV. This continues John Lewis' focus on Never Knowingly Undersold, the pricing promise which is at the heart of our brand.

A good proportion of our Partners have worked for Waitrose for many years - over 20 is not unusual. They're interested in what they do and they're knowledgeable about what they sell. And the friendliness and helpfulness that our customers so often remark upon isn't really surprising when you realise that the Partners you meet in your local Waitrose do, in effect, own the store.

Price commitment
Because Waitrose has such an enviable reputation for quality, and doesn't try to grab the headlines with price-cuts the way other supermarkets do, it's easy to assume that we're expensive. This simply isn't the case.

Royal Warrant
Waitrose holds a Royal Warrant with Her Majesty The Queen. A Royal Warrant is a mark of recognition to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services for at least five years to certain members of the Royal Family. They have always been regarded as a mark of excellence and quality, and are highly prized. Waitrose previously held a longstanding Warrant with Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Waitrose Online

Waitrose online is a fresh way to shop that brings all the usual great service, quality and value that one expect to find at Waitrose.

Convenience Stores and Little Waitrose
Announcing its foray into the convenience sector in July 2008 when Waitrose opened its first convenience store in Nottingham in December of that year. In September 2009, it was announced that a large-scale roll-out of the concept was planned, opening up to 300 stores in 5 to 10 years. The new arm will operate in a two-tier environment, with the majority of sites expected to trade from 2,500-3,000 sq ft and some trading from a larger 5,000-7,000 sq ft floor plate.[29] A trial of a 'Little Waitrose' fascia on smaller floor plate stores may yet lead to brand differentiation of some or all of the convenience estate. As of September 2011, there were 23 convenience branches.

John Lewis Food hall
Waitrose operates food halls in key stores of sister chain John Lewis. The stores are officially branded 'John Lewis food hall, from Waitrose', and carry many Waitrose own-brand product lines. The first John Lewis Food Hall opened at the flagship London Oxford Street department store in October 2007; a second opened at the Bluewater branch in August 2009.

Heston Blumenthal's ice cream sandwich with fresh British raspberries. 

We think Heston's gorgeous Ice cream sandwich with fresh raspberry dipping sauce is the very essence of summer. Heston says: 'This ice cream sandwich is a treat that's really easy to put together whatever your age, but it's particularly good for making with the kids.

'The biscuits can be kept in the freezer with the ice cream and cooked at the last minute for that unmistakeable freshly baked taste. Then it's just a case of making the dipping sauce, putting the pieces together and enjoying a taste of summer!'

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