1 July 2018 - Janet Bird
Rival supermarkets have lost no time snapping up five Waitrose stores marked for disposal by the John Lewis Partnership.
The Co-op is to purchase four 'Little Waitrose' stores - two in Manchester, one in Birmingham and one in London's Baker Street - while Aldi is to acquire a small Waitrose supermarket in Camden.
Around 200 staff are employed at the affected Waitrose stores and the Co-op has already indicated the jobs of those working in the stores it purchases will be secure.
The John Lewis Partnership announced its intention to offload the five Waitrose stores as it revealed half year profits, not counting exceptional items, were likely to be "close to zero".
The retailer also predicted full year profits would be "substantially lower" than in 2017, blaming the current challenging market conditions and a major investment in IT for contributing to the dip in profits.