Waitrose has planned an expansion drive in the North of England and Scotland, based on the opening of a new distribution centre it is building in Leyland, Lancashire. The £35 million project will see a 360,000 sq ft warehouse completed in autumn 2012 and ready for business in 2013.

At present the most northerly facility is at Barden in Nottingham, which is not close enough to service Scotland. Waitrose has a number of planning applications in the north and Scotland at the decision stage.

Waitrose is beefing up its logistics and last year opened a new distribution facility at Milton Keynes. The firm has 272 stores, of which 28 are convenience shops. In September 2011 a two-site trial of Little Waitrose convenience shops started on Shell Petrol forecourts in Watford and Kensington Gardens. Four more Waitrose outlets opened at Welcome Break motorway services in 2011, bringing the total to 16.

Waitrose has received planning approval for new stores at Helensburgh and Stirling, to complement its four existing stores at Newton Mearns (which opened in May 2011) and properties in Glasgow and Edinburgh.