Food retailer Waitrose is looking to expand the amount of stores it has in the North West as part of its plans to open ten large food stores a year across England, Scotland and Wales.
Waitrose, which joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1937 originally as a chain of ten specialist food shops, is seeking suitable sites with gross areas of up to 40,000 sq ft.
Waitrose said existing buildings or redevelopment opportunities located within or on the edge of town centres will be considered.
James Armstrong, property development communications manager at Waitrose, said: "The North West will play a big part in realising our growth ambitions over the next decade."
Armstrong could not confirm where in the North West the supermarket chain will be looking for sites but said there is a potential to add to those already open or at planning stage.
In addition to core estates, Waitrose is also searching for properties in the North West, ranging from 4,000 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft, as part of its plans to open 300 convenience stores in the next ten years.
Armstrong added: "We submitted a planning application for a store in Preston in May and we hope this will go before planning committee in September. We aim to open our new store in Poynton by the end of September and have recently acquired the Boughton Retail Centre in Chester. Waitrose is working closely with Cheshire West & Chester Council to bring forward a comprehensive and sympathetic development which will enhance the Boughton area, with a view to submitting an application later this year."
Waitrose hopes to open its first ever shop in Lancashire at Royal London Asset Management's Capitol Centre in Walton-le-Dale, South Ribble, near Preston.
In March, the upmarket grocer opened its first North Wales shop in Menai Bridge and already has four stores in Cheshire in Altrincham, Sandbach, Wilmslow and Cheadle Hulme.
Waitrose said its in-house development surveyor for the north is overseeing its search for core estate stores, while King Stuge has been appointed to find suitable properties in the north for its convenience stores.
Waitrose currently has 231 supermarkets in England, Scotland and Wales.