Waitrose boss Mark Price anticipates doubling the grocer’s store count to 600 as well as rapidly increasing its online sales.

Price said Waitrose expects to double the proportion of sales made online to 6% in the next eight years and has long-term ambitions to take online sales to 20%.

He said that Waitrose also aims to extend its market share to 10%, up from the 4.5% it already holds, The Telegraph reported.

Waitrose, which is due to report on its first-half performance next week, will achieve annual sales of £6bn this year, Price revealed.

He expects sales to accelerate in the second half, fuelled by new products, following a 7% uplift recorded in the first six months of this financial year.

Price said: “We are trading really strongly, we are more price-competitive and we have some great launches in the second half.”

Parent company John Lewis is also expected to reveal strong trading, buoyed by the performance of its online business and the technology category during the summer of sport.

Price forecast that Waitrose will achieve total sales of more than £8bn by 2016, with online sales representing £480m.

The ambitious target will put increased pressure on online grocery partner Ocado, which sells own-label and Waitrose goods. The etailer has a supply agreement with Waitrose until 2020, with a break clause in 2017.