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Waitrose are appointed Royal Warrant holders as Grocer and Wine & Spirit Merchants by Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales.

When Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor opened their first small grocery shop at 263 Acton Hill, West London in 1904, little did they know that within a century the company would have become one of the country’s leading food retailers employing nearly 40,000 people. All of those who work at Waitrose are partners and thus share in the profits of the company each year.

Waitrose first branch London 1904

Waitrose first branch London 1904

The John Lewis Partnership acquired the Waitrose business in 1937, opening the first Waitrose supermarket in 1955. Today there are over 330 branches, dedicated to offering quality, value and customer service. There are Waitrose shops throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Early delivery lorry

Early Waitrose delivery lorry

The John Lewis Partnership as a whole employs nearly 80,000 Partners and has a turnover in excess of £10 billion. As well as Waitrose, it runs 30 full-line department stores, nine John Lewis at Home Stores and a very successful webstore.

As well as Waitrose, it runs 26 John Lewis department stores throughout the UK, several manufacturing concerns and a farm.

The Leckford Estate, Hampshire, was purchased by John Spedan Lewis of Oxford Street in 1928 as his private estate, was converted into a limited company in 1929 and is now an important part of Waitrose. Leckford Farm is a working farm producing arable crops including high quality bread-making wheat which is used to make a range of Leckford label flour.

Waitrose own farm

Leckford  Waitrose’s own farm

The farm also supplies milk, apples, pears, apple juice, cider, free range eggs and mushrooms as well as free range Le Poulet d’Or chickens to Waitrose branches. On seeing this modern and professional food business in action, there is an immediate sense of Waitrose’s commitment to forward thinking.

At Waitrose, their reputation rests on the traceability of the finest foods. This requires strong relationships throughout the food supply chain built on respect, trust and a mutual commitment to the highest standards.

Leckford is primarily a working farm so they hold an annual festival in May or June when the estate is open to the public. The estate is open for three days when there are a wide variety of events ranging from cookery demonstrations to farm, nursery and arboretum tours, plus the opportunity to meet Waitrose suppliers and try their produce and special events for children.

duchy originals waitrose charles

Prince Charles’ Duchy Originals Organic food range is now available through Waitrose stores (and online) following a recent agreement which gives Waitrose, Duchy Originals’ largest and most long-standing client, the exclusive right to originate, manufacture, distribute and sell Duchy Originals products in the UK.