Sainsbury’s has outlined plans to open 50 new stores by early 2014, as it accelerates the expansion of its convenience store estate in London and the south east.

The supermarket firm revealed the news yesterday (26 March), which will create more than 1,000 jobs and will help to build on its current portfolio of 150 Sainsbury’s Local outlets in the same area.

Sainsbury’s said its convenience store business has experienced a year-on-year growth of over 18% and serves more than five million customers each week.

Simon Twigger, convenience director at Sainsbury’s, said:“Our convenience business is going from strength to strength as customers continue to enjoy the benefits of regular top-up shopping and the ability to walk to a local store. The new Locals will be located on high streets and in the heart of communities, providing access to healthy, quality food at fair prices. They will also give a real boost for other retailers as they bring increased footfall and trade.”

He added that the new stores will be supported by a new distribution centre in Thameside, which has created 350 new jobs and will help service Sainsbury’s Local stores.

Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s revealed that its convenience store activity, as well as online retailing, had contributed to a 4.3% rise in total sales during the last year.

Rival supermarket businesses are also expanding their convenience store formats. This includes Morrisons, which acquired former JessopsHMV and Blockbuster sites last month; these are set to be transformed into outlets under its Morrisons M Local brand.

Waitrose also revealed in February that it planned to push its convenience store business, little Waitrose, this year, with the opening of up to 10 stores under this format.