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15 July, 2013

Waitrose Aylesbury announces opening date

More than 1300 people apply for jobs

Waitrose has today announced that its new Aylesbury store will open to customers for the first time on Thursday 8th August.

The retailer has also confirmed it received more than 1,300 applications in just ten days for the 140 jobs being created by the branch.

The roles were advertised for the first time in early summer, but the window closed earlier than expected following the overwhelming response.

Job offers have now been made and the new employees will begin their training on July 22nd.

By working with the local branch of Jobcentre Plus Waitrose has been able to provide 19 positions for the long-term unemployed.

In addition, the supermarket will be taking on two apprentices. The year long apprenticeship scheme is geared at those with little or no experience and involves working in every section of the shop, resulting in an intermediate apprenticeship in retail accredited by City and Guilds.

Councillor John Cartwright, Leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council, said:

“It’s great news that the opening of Aylesbury Waitrose is now so close. Everyone I’ve spoken to, including other businesses and shops in the town have said how much they are looking forward to the store opening. It will give Aylesbury a real boost, creating new jobs and attracting more people to the town centre. AVDC is proud to have been behind this next stage of the town’s development and we wish Waitrose every success.”

Rose Lawrence, Waitrose Aylesbury branch manager, said:

"The shop is really beginning to take shape now and it's great to now be in a position to respond to the hundreds of people who have asked when we are going to open.

"The response from local people wanting to join our business has been phenomenal and the calibre of applications has been excellent. We pride ourselves on ensuring our shops have a local identity and that starts with the staff we employ ."

All Waitrose Aylesbury employees will become Partners in the John Lewis Partnership, the UK’s largest and oldest example of employee ownership. As Partners, they will be entitled to benefits including leisure and learning subsidies and a share in profits in the form of an annual bonus.

This year saw existing Partnership staff receive 17% of their annual wage in bonus, the equivalent of approximately nine weeks wage, representing a significant re-distribution of profits back into the areas in which the supermarket trades. Waitrose expects to generate around £1m a year in wages and bonuses at the new branch.

About Waitrose Aylesbury:
· The store will provide 21,000sq ft of selling space.
· An online grocery service, Waitrose.com and shop in branch, we deliver service
· A time saving, scan-as-you-shop service Quick Check
· Waitrose will share £12,000 each year between local charities nominated by local people as part of its Community Matters scheme.
· The branch will also donate 250 staff hours to local cause through our Partner Volunteering initiative.
- There will be 294 car parking spaces available.

About Waitrose
· Waitrose prices on branded products are now identical to Tesco, excluding promotions
· We regularly price check everyday items against competitors and the ‘essential Waitrose’ range offers more than 1,400 everyday shopping items at everyday, affordable prices.
· Waitrose named favourite supermarket in customer satisfaction survey by Which? Magazine top Food & Grocery Retailer in a poll of 6,000 shoppers by retail analysts Verdict Research.
· It champions British produce, for example, 100% of Waitrose fresh chicken, beef, pork, milk, eggs and cream are British. For more information about Waitrose please visit www.waitrose.com

For more information contact:

Jo Maish
e: jo_maish@waitrose.co.uk