Waitrose invests £64m in supply chain

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Waitrose invested more than £64m in its supply chain last year, results for its parent John Lewis Partnership reveal.

In July 2010 a new 100,000 sq ft chilled warehouse was opened in Bracknell, the group said.

In addition, “the ‘end-to-end’ focus on operational efficiency in our supply chain generated substantial savings,” it said.

“These investments are critical to driving efficiencies, creating further capacity for growth and delivering profit margins.”

Waitrose is expanding its online business moving onto a new technology platform, and expanding its delivery service to cover the whole of the area within the M25 without restriction from July this year.

The move will increasingly bring it into competition with Ocado which it supplies with products.

Waitrose sales were up 9.8 per cent to £4.97bn for the year while operating profit rose 3 per cent, to £274.9m. It opened 20 new branches during the year plus three relocations increasing selling space by 5.7 per cent. Nine of these new shops are in the convenience format, including three in the new small convenience format.

Online sales were also strong for John Lewis. The group said: “JL.com achieved sales of £538.2m, up 37.9 per cent, and well ahead of expectations. This was achieved by increasing the number of products sold online, investing further in the development of the Magna Park distribution facility and extending services such as Click & Collect which gives customers greater flexibility in their shopping.”

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: The Partnership has clearly established itself as a leader in multi-channel retailing. Our investment over many years in JL.com and our growing presence in Waitrose Deliver together with our supply relationship with Ocado, have brought our offer to more people in more parts of the country and these initiatives have been at the forefront of our growth and innovation.”

Total group sales and operating profit were up 10.6 per cent. As a result all the employees will share £194.5m in cash, equivalent to more than nine weeks’ pay.

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