Waitrose, the upmarket retailer, is targeting pubs as part of its strategy to open up to 300 new convenience stores within 10 years, writes Gemma McKenna. The firm opened its first c-store in 2008, and currently has six sites. Change of use planning permission is not required to convert a pub into a store. Waitrose is looking for sites that range from 3,000–7,000 square feet ground floor in sales area, with adequate storage. Both leasehold and freehold sites will be considered. Waitrose specifies that it will consider new developments including former pubs and petrol stations in town centres. Sites with car parking space are preferred. A spokesman for Waitrose said the firm wasn’t “averse to looking at opportunities” in pubs, given the high rate of pub closures. He added that opening stores there would help “regenerate” such sites. The supermarket chain recently announced plans to grow to 1,450 branches in five years’ time.

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