Waitrose plans to open 20 new Little Waitrose stores in and around London over the next 18 months.

The new smaller-format stores will boost its selling space by 100,000 sq ft by the end of 2012, the supermarket said, creating 1,000 jobs. Last month The Grocer reported Waitrose had kicked off a five-year growth push in the capital with the capture of a 10,000 sq ft site in High Holborn.

It has already opened one full-size supermarket and five convenience shops in London this year. Two more full-size supermarkets are planned, in Wimbledon and Stratford, alongside a further five convenience outlets.

“London is an important part of our heritage so this is another exciting milestone for our business." said managing director Mark Price. “It demonstrates our ambition to continue increasing our presence and improving our accessibility to those who wish to shop with us.”

The retailer officially launched its online business in the capital this month following the end of its non-compete agreement with Ocado on 1 July.

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Waitrose wins Grocer of the Year for a second year (18 June 2011)
Waitrose has high hopes for Holborn (11 June 2011)