James Brokenshire has described today's opening of the new Waitrose as a big vote of confidence in Sidcup and recognition of the community campaign which helped make it happen. James joined the Leader of Bexley Council, Councillor Teresa O'Neill and store manager Rob Chivers in cutting the ribbon to welcome in the store's first customers.
The new Waitrose has created 50 new jobs in Sidcup after receiving nearly 300 job applications within just three days. 90% of the staff live within six miles of the store.
The opening marks the successful culmination of the 'We Want Waitrose' campaign backed by Bexley Council with the support of James Brokenshire, Sidcup Councillors and Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Thousands of local residents signed a petition urging the retailer to come to Sidcup after a Waitrose business review put the opening in doubt.
The new Sidcup branch is part of the company’s wider plan to create 650 new jobs across the capital by opening other, new Little Waitrose stores in Monument, East Putney and another location still to be confirmed.
The retailer is also a key player in the Feeding Britain’s Future initiative, which sees its stores and those of other food and grocery businesses welcome unemployed young people to gain valuable work experience in order to help them find jobs in the future
Commenting on the new addition to Sidcup High Street Mr Brokenshire said “The opening of the new Waitrose is a positive sign for the local economy and a welcome boost to Sidcup High Street. I believe its arrival will help will attract more people to shop in Sidcup and support other businesses as well as our local community. It’s a vote of confidence in Sidcup and I’m delighted to welcome Waitrose as a new partner in the local community”.