UK retailer Waitrose yesterday (4 October) revealed plans to spend GBP1bn (US$1.54bn) on expansion over the next three years.

The announcement was made as Waitrose managing director Mark Price met with Prime Minister David Cameron at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to discuss plans for a new GBP35m regional distribution centre in Chorley in Lancashire.

The company said the site will create up to 600 jobs and make it possible for the chain to open 100 shops (although 20 of those were previously announced to open this year) and create 10,000 new jobs (3,000 of them in the north) over the next three years.

Price said: “This new distribution centre will support the growth of our business, be a boost for the North West, create 600 new jobs for the region and make it possible for us to invest one billion pounds in Britain over the next three years. The new shops we are now planning will mean 10,000 more jobs and GBP1bn of additional business going to producers, farmers and growers in the British food industry.”

Cameron said: “This GBP1bn investment is great news for the north of England and the country as a whole.”

The new distribution centre will be up and running by autumn 2012. The recruitment process for drivers, warehouse operatives, office and catering staff will begin in spring next year.