Photo: Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose has announced the sale of its four stores, three of them to discount retailer Lidl, and the closure of further three, putting nearly 700 jobs at risk.

Stores at Burnt Ash Lane, Bromley in South East London, Oadby in Leicestershire, Wollaton in Nottinghamshire and Sandhurst in Berkshire are the ones that have been sold.

Stores located at Marlow in Buckinghamshire, Stevenage in Hertfordshire and in the Waterside, the headquarters of British Airways near Heathrow, will be closed.

Mark Gifford, director of shop trade at Waitrose, said the retailer has not been able to “find a way to make these shops profitable in the long term.”

Waitrose said the stores at Bromley, Oadby and Wollaton have been acquired by Lidl, but did not divulge the details of the Sandhurst sale.

The staff at these shops, numbering 677, will now enter a period of consultation and the retailer said it will try to accommodate them within the business.

“Our priority now is the wellbeing and future of our Partners in these shops. We will do everything we can to support them and will explore opportunities for anyone wishing to remain with the Partnership,” Gifford added.