UPMARKET retailer Waitrose has revealed plans for its fifth store in Scotland on the day that it opens its first new-build branch north of the Border.

The Herald has learned the Berkshire-based firm, the food arm of the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, plans to open a second new-build store in Helensburgh after unveiling its shop in the Glasgow suburb of Newton Mearns today.

If planning permission is granted by Argyll & Bute Council, the Helensburgh store will be the fifth Scottish Waitrose and, at 25,000 sq ft, will be the same size as Newton Mearns. It will also have a petrol station.

Nigel Keen, Waitrose director of development, said: “Helensburgh is an exciting opportunity and further demonstration of our ambition to make Waitrose more accessible to Scottish consumers. 

“We’ve established a loyal customer base and been able to increase the number of Scottish farmers and producers supplying our shops, both here and throughout the UK. 

“We believe that a new store in Helensburgh will provide a boost to the local economy and will allow us to continue to work with local and Scottish suppliers to bring their products to Waitrose customers.”

Last week Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, was spotted shopping at a Waitrose just days after her wedding to Prince William. 

The Newton Mearns store is double the size of the Glasgow store in Byres Road in the west end, which opened in October 2009.

Locally made products specially sourced for Waitrose customers include Currie’s Red Kola, which is made in Blantyre, and Stoat’s Porridge Bars, made in Edinburgh.

These will be available at Newton Mearns, although Tracey Marshall, local and regional product buyer, reveals morning rolls and Lorne sausage with black pudding in the middle may also come on board.

“Glasgow customers want foods they grew up with. It’s a very traditional market, whereas Edinburgh only wants the best of the best of the best,” she said.

The core stock will remain in all Scottish stores – with some further local additions in the pipeline. These include Just Add Chilli, a strawberry-based condiment made locally, and hot smoked salmon from the Dunoon-based Argyll Smokery.

But the vexed issue of Scottish artisan cheese, glaringly absent in all three existing Waitrose branches remains unresolved.

Some small Scottish producers are reluctant to enter the supermarket arena for fear of upsetting their existing customers.

Dunlop Dairy in Ayrshire has not been approached, although producer Ann Dorward says she would consider making a special cheese for the new store.

Arran Dairies, based in Brodick, is in talks with Waitrose about supplying their soft cheese range.