Waitrose is to open its “smallest ever store” next month at Oxford M40 motorway services following its first franchise deal with national chain Welcome Break.
The move follows Marks & Spencer’s similar agreement with Moto, the UK’s largest MSA operator, to franchise its Simply Food brand in 2003.
The supermarket brand says it aims to open stores in about 12 Welcome Breaks – half of the national total. The second mini store is scheduled to open on May 15th at South Mimms services on the M25.
Waitrose Managing Director, Mark Price, says: “This move into franchising and motorway service areas builds on our recent ventures into other new formats such as Market Town and Convenience – all designed to provide flexibility around our growth ambitions and increase awareness of our brand.”
Waitrose saw its like for like growth, excluding petrol, rise by 0.4%. in 2008. It recently introduced a new 1,450-strong range of value products to counter any drift to discount retailers in the current recession.