Waitrose has kicked off a national online rollout programmein preparation for its split from Ocado.

The supermarket this week began adding its Waitrose.com online delivery service to 24 more shops across the country. It said the shops are strategically placed to handle increased demand for its online shopping service after the break from Ocado.

From 1 Sepember, Ocado will cease to sell any Waitrose products, meaning Waitrose food and drink will exclusively be available online on Waitrose.com.

Currently 150 of the retailer’s shops cover deliveries across the country, with 84 per cent of active UK postcodes able to order Waitrose.com shopping. In addition to the 24 extra shops, significant work is underway with the current online shops to further increase their order capacity.

A new customer fulfilment centre is also due to open in Enfield in the coming months to respond to a surge in demand in the capital.

Digital director Ben Stimson said: “September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we're investing heavily to achieve it.

“We're not starting from scratch - Waitrose.com is growing significantly ahead of the market and we already deliver to tens of thousands of customers each week, added to the millions who visit our shops.

“We have robust plans in place to extend our reach ahead of September. We have significant investment planned for the coming months across our infrastructure, website and service - creating more delivery slots and employing a fleet of new drivers. And adding online capability to these 24 more of our shops will mean we can reach even more of the country - we already deliver to 84 per cent of UK postcodes and this is growing all the time.

'Our teams at head office are working across our website and apps to make our service better, faster and more convenient. And our chefs and product developers will be launching or redeveloping more than 5,000 of our own-label products this year.

“We are well prepared for boost in demand and capacity has already been tested with our busiest-ever online order week - the week before Christmas in 2019.'