Waitrose has signed up to sponsor Reading Football Club, marking the first time a food retailer in Britain has sponsored a major football club.

As part of the deal, Waitrose’s name will appear on the new home and away kits. It will also offer a selection of its food offer in the club’s stadium and conference facilities.

Waitrose commercial director Richard Hodgson said: “Waitrose is committed to supporting the communities in which we trade and our sponsorship of Reading Football Club will take us into the heart of the community in one of our prime retailing areas.

“This exciting deal will help us to engage with our customers in a way we haven’t done before and give the brand a much broader exposure on both a local and national level. We’re looking forward to realising the potential of this partnership in the year ahead.”

The deal backs Waitrose’s ambitious growth plans, with grocer aiming to double the size of the business within the next decade.

Reading FC chairman John Madejski said: “We hope that this will become a pioneering partnership and we are already aiming to introduce Waitrose food and drink products across the stadium, hotel and conference centre, which we are sure will be well received by our supporters.

“Waitrose will also be making a number of exclusive offers available to our season ticket holders and we are very pleased that they have shown such willingness to engage with our supporters.”