Upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose is understood to be finalising an £800m store investment programme. The Sunday Times

Under the plans Waitrose would open 50 stores over the next five years. It has already secured 10 sites for next year.

The chain has also decided to roll out its new-look store format – piloted at its branch in London’s Marylebone High Street - across the rest of its 183 stores.

The company is thought to be putting the finishing touches to its spending plans this month before they are ratified by its parent company, the John Lewis Partnership.

A new 25,000 sq ft store will also open shortly in Finchley Road in the capital.

And on 3 October Waitrose will launch a food hall at the John Lewis department store in Oxford Street - the first time that it has brought together the Waitrose and John Lewis brands in the same place. If successful, the format could be rolled out to other John Lewis stores