Waitrose & Partners is a brand of British supermarkets, founded in 1904 as Waite, Rose & Taylor, later shortened to Waitrose. It was acquired in 1937 by employee-owned retailer John Lewis Partnership, which still sells groceries under the brand. Its head offices are located in Bracknell and Victoria, England. Waitrose & Partners has 332 shops across the United Kingdom, including 65 "little Waitrose" convenience shops, and a 5.1% share of the groceries market, making the company the eighth-largest retailer of groceries in the UK. They also export products to 52 countries and have locations in the Middle East.
The chain has been described by The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian as having an "upmarket" reputation, although former managing director Mark Price suggested prices are competitive to Tesco, a mid-market chain.
The company has a royal warrant to supply groceries, wine, and spirits to Queen Elizabeth II and, as of 1 January 2011, to Prince Charles.
Founded in 1904 by Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor, Waitrose & Partners began as a small grocery, Waite, Rose & Taylor, in Acton, West London. In 1908, two years after David Taylor had left the business, the name "Waitrose", from the remaining founders' names, was adopted. In 1937, the company, consisting of ten shops and 160 employees, was taken over by the John Lewis Partnership. In 1944, the partnership purchased the South Essex grocery business Schofield and Martin, which had 12 shops in its chain.
In 1955, the chain opened its first Waitrose supermarket in Streatham, London, and continued to expand throughout London and the South East of England during the 1960s. In the 1970s, Waitrose opened branches in Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, and Cambridgeshire. On 16 June 2016 the shop's most southerly branch opened in Truro, Cornwall.
In the early 21st century, Waitrose continued its expansion, which included purchasing shops from Somerfield, Morrisons and Woolworths.
In 2009 the firm signed a deal with Alliance Boots which allowed Boots to operate branded pharmacies in Waitrose shops and Boots shops to sell Waitrose food products. The partnership between the companies ended in 2012 having been deemed unsuccessful, which led to Boots replacing Waitrose products with items from Irish retailer Musgrave's SuperValu chain.
In October 2011, Waitrose opened a Fulfilment Centre in West London as part of its Waitrose.com Online Delivery Service. This allowed Waitrose to offer an online service to customers in London, something which had previously been restricted due to Waitrose's commercial agreement with Ocado.
By August 2016, Waitrose had 350 shops across the UK and it opened the UK's first cashless shop at the headquarters of Sky, under the Little Waitrose brand.
Profitability issues at the end of the decade resulted in John Lewis announcing the closure of five Waitrose shops in 2018 and the sale of a further five Waitrose shops to other retailers in 2019.