Waitrose has denied its convenience store format is struggling after it emerged that a Little Waitrose would be closing later this year.

The branch in Hornchurch, near London, will shut in November after trading at a loss since it opened almost two years ago.

Waitrose denied the closure reflected wider problems. “Our convenience stores continue to perform well,” said a spokesman. “Like-for-like sales at Old Brompton Road, our first Little Waitrose, recently showed a 14.9% year-on-year increase.”

But sources claimed Little Waitrose stores had under-performed, held back by high rents and tough competition from M&S and Sainsbury’s.