Sales at Waitrose are on course to smash through the £2bn barrier this year. And md David Felwick said he was confident the chain would not be hit as Sainsbury, Safeway and Marks and Spencer try to rebuild their food businesses. "It is interesting to see that our competitors are now coming to fight on our turf in many aspects. We view our competitors seriously, and watch to see whether or not they can actually execute and do what they say," he said. "We would be the first to admit that if our competitors are not performing as strongly as they were we gain some advantage. But we do believe that the Waitrose offer is much more focused and appropriate and had a wider appeal [than in the past]." Felwick's comments come in an interview contained in a special supplement being given away free with this week's issue of The Grocer. In the interview, Felwick talks candidly about how the acquisition and subsequent conversion of 11 Somerfield stores has put the Waitrose business under strain. But he insists Waitrose can handle the pressure and says the whole experience has taught it some valuable lessons that will prove useful should it go down the acquisition route in the future. Felwick makes it clear the chain is keen to expand its presence: "I don't think there is a particular geographical limit to where Waitrose can trade in the UK." With that in mind, he says it is reviewing its future logistical requirements. Waitrose is also keen to build on its Food and Home supercentre concept, says Felwick. "We see that as a significant format for the future." Another development is the roll out of a Mark Four store format, which places greater emphasis on fresh foods. And Felwick makes it clear that Waitrose is looking at how best to build on its existing online operations to offer a home shopping service. {{NEWS }}