Waitrose is upping the ante in its attempt to double the size of its business within 10 years by offering agents £75,000 to find new sites.

The retailer is looking for stores that have a sales area of between 10,000 and 21,000 sq ft.

The property hunt is country-wide and both town centre and edge-of-town locations will be considered, though they must have customer parking.

One expert said the fee on offer was far higher than would normally be expected in such a deal.

“An average price you might expect to pay for a food retail unit is £20 per square feet,” said Marcus Wood, director, DTZ. “And an average fee would be 1% of that which, on a 21,000 sq ft store, equals £42,000. So £75,000 is very good incentive to acquire units.

“What they’re saying is basically ‘think of us first’. I think it shows they are serious about expansion.”

The £75,000 fee would be payable on completion of a lease agreement or purchase, Waitrose said.