Waitrose to move into convenience store retailing next year

Waitrose plans to launch its first grocery convenience store early next year to take on Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

It has hired the consultant Anthony Wysome, a former senior project manager at Waitrose, as head of convenience to spearhead its push into the fast-growing £27.4bn market for small shops.

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: "We would hope to be trialling a shop within six to nine months."

Waitrose's convenience store plans follow the launch this year of its market-town stores, which are typically sized about 13,000 sq ft.

In May, Waitrose unveiled its first market-town store in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. It opened another in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, last month, and will unveil another in Brackley, Northamptonshire, next week.

The market-town stores offer a higher proportion of fresh food and locally sourced produce.