Waitrose stores will open abroad for the first time in April after a licensing agreement to open more than 20 sites in the United Arab Emirates by 2010. Financial Times

The retailer, part of the John Lewis Partnership, has signed a deal with Spinneys, a Dubai-based store operator that already sells a range of Waitrose products, to set up Waitrose-branded shops as it looks for avenues of growth overseas.

Waitrose exports products to 20 countries but this is the first time the company has licensed its name to be used on a store front outside the UK.