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Waitrose, the food shops of the John Lewis Partnership, has announced it is to open its first ever store in Glasgow.
The retailer has reached an agreement to take over the lease of the 16,420sq ft Somerfield in Byres Road in the city’s West End and will open there by November this year.
More than 100 employees are set to join the John Lewis Partnership. The 70 Somerfield employees at the store will be offered the opportunity to join the business and an additional 50 new jobs will also be created.
As co-owners of the business all employees are known as Partners and, as such, will be entitled to the unique benefits of employee ownership. This will include a say in how the business is run, leisure and shopping discounts as well as a share in profits through its bonus scheme. This year saw existing Partners receive 13% of their annual salary in bonus.
The store will continue to trade as a Somerfield until August 17th and will be handed over to Waitrose by October. Waitrose will then carry out phased programme to convert the store which will open by the beginning of November on a date to be confirmed.
Waitrose currently has just two stores in Scotland after acquiring its Edinburgh shops in Morningside and Comely Bank from Somerfield in June 2006. Its sister company, John Lewis, operates department stores in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Mark Price, Managing Director of Waitrose, said:
“We are delighted to be coming to Glasgow. We have wanted to bring Waitrose here for a long time and in Byres Road we are confident we have found a location that will allow us to trade successfully. Our objective is always to make a long lasting positive contribution to any area in which we trade and we look forward to serving our new Glasgow customers.
“We already offer hundreds of Scottish lines in our shops including products from well known names such as Graham’s Dairies, Nairns, Macsween haggis and the Really Garlickly Company. We will continue to work with Scotland Food and Drink to ensure we give producers, especially those from Glasgow and the west of Scotland, the opportunity to have their food and drink on our shelves.”
“Glasgow represents another important chapter in our history and is a further demonstration of our ambitions to bring Waitrose to Scottish consumers. We can now look forward to welcoming new employees into the business over the coming months and sharing with them the unique benefits of the John Lewis Partnership.”
Glasgow City Council’s Executive Member for Business and the Economy, Councillor George Ryan, said:
“Waitrose's arrival in Glasgow will be a very welcome entry into Glasgow's already successful retail market. Such a move from a high quality brand presents enhanced variety and choice to those who shop in Glasgow - and a positive boost to the city's economy.”
Lesley Ballantyne, Managing Director of John Lewis Glasgow, added:
“Over the past 10 years, John Lewis has built a strong presence and loyal customer base within Glasgow and the West of Scotland.
“The first Waitrose store in the City will complement the John Lewis offering, providing customers with the same trusted brand, quality product and exceptional service that they have come to know and love over the past decade. We look forward to welcoming Waitrose to Glasgow.”
Waitrose also recently became the first company to sign up to The Scottish Retailers’ Charter, which was launched in June by The Scottish Government. The charter aims to create a “responsible approach” between retailers and suppliers.
Waitrose Commercial Director, Richard Hodgson, said:
"We were delighted to be the first retailer to sign up to the Charter as part of our commitment to Scotland and to fair and honest relationships with our suppliers.
"We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver the ambitions of the Food and Drink Policy and fully endorse its commitments to encouraging local and regional sourcing, high animal welfare and environmental standards."