Upmarket UK retailer Waitrose has reaffirmed its plans for expansion - but dismissed claims of an GBP800m (US$1.6bn) war chest as "speculative".

Over the weekend, Waitrose was said to be close to drawing up investment plans to spend GBP800m on opening 50 stores over the next five years.

However, the company moved to cool the reports when contacted by just-food today.

"When Mark Price became Waitrose managing director in April this year, he announced his intention to double our sales over the next decade, which would involve expanding our customer base by moving into new areas and consolidating our position with new branches," a Waitrose spokesman said.

"However, while we are always actively looking for new locations, we are unable to discuss specific sites and the figures mentioned in the media this weekend are speculative."

Waitrose is in rude financial health. Earlier this month, the company posted an 18.7% jump in underlying profit to GBP139.8m.