LONDON - Buoyed by strong results from pilot openings, upscale British retailer Waitrose has boosted the number of convenience stores it expects to open by the end of 2020, Reuters reports.
Waitrose managing director Mark Price said he sees a chain of up to 500 convenience stores, up substantially from an initial goal of 300.
Price said strong demand for "food on the go" as well as a trend toward more frequent shopping at local stores produced strong returns for Waitroseï¿½ï¿½s first 20 convenience stores.
Britainï¿½ï¿½s retailers have been struggling as rising prices have curbed consumer spending, and Waitrose is stepping in.
"I think there are a lot of people who are taking advantage of all the beneficial things that come from continued, very low interest rates," Price said.
Waitrose has long outperformed Britain's grocery market, aided by its lower-priced "essentials" range as well as premium foods, a tradeoff for Brits who cut back on restaurant meals but still want quality meals.
Price said Waitrose will also begin expanding its online grocery business in London next month, following the expiration of a non-compete agreement with another chain, and that he expects that segment to grow quickly for the company.