Almost 550 jobs are at risk after Waitrose revealed plans to close a delivery warehouse.

The supermarket chain, owned by the John Lewis Partnership, has launched a consultation on the future of its Enfield warehouse.

The warehouse, opened in 2020 and designed to manage online orders, is at risk of closure by the summer, even though its lease does not expire until early 2025.

A spokesman for the supermarket chain said it was not "an option we're exploring lightly".

Waitrose plans to reroute orders through two other sites as opposed to the Enfield warehouse.

The consultation process is expected to take at least 12 weeks, and no final decisions on the plans will be made until then.

The Enfield warehouse currently employs 545 people.

Enfield Independent: The supermarket chain is owned by the John Lewis PartnershipThe supermarket chain is owned by the John Lewis Partnership (Image: PA)

A spokesman for Waitrose said rent increases have played a part in the closure plans.

The spokesman said: "With rental costs at Enfield due to increase and capacity elsewhere in our network, we are considering the closure of the site.

"While not an option we’re exploring lightly, the proposal would maintain our high levels of customer service for and support future growth."

He added: "It’s in no way a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our team.

"No decision will be made until we have fully consulted with all partners at our Enfield site, who are being supported throughout the process."

The warehouse off Southbury Road, also known as the Enfield Customer Fulfilment Centre, was launched amid a boom in online grocery demand at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The job cuts planned as part of the warehouse closure are part of cost-cutting efforts at parent group John Lewis Partnership.

John Lewis chair Sharon White last week said that while some roles will be affected by the partnership's turnaround strategy, there is "no target" for job cuts.

She said: "Part of our refresh plan is that we are becoming simpler and more flexible.

"There will be less need for some roles in some areas over the coming years as a result, but there is no specific target."