Subway has unveiled plans to expand the number of its stores on the south coast by more than 20 over the next 18 months.

By the end of next year, the number of stores in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, and East and West Sussex will have grown from 109 to around 130. The new stores will create a further 200 jobs.

“Our target for the next 18 months is to add in excess of 20 more stores, creating opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs keen to run their own business, as well as adding more than 200 new jobs to the region,” said Subway regional development agent Mark Bradley, who is tasked with the expansion.

“We will be focusing our growth on stand-alone units, drive-through and non-traditional locations, such as franchises within hospitals, transport hubs and education establishments, as well as other such complementary locations. Our growth targets mean there are plenty of opportunities for the right people with the right blend of teamwork, leadership and work ethic to become franchisees.”

Subway, Bradley added, has a long-established relationship with the south coast, having opened its first ever UK store in Brighton in 1996. The store is still operational.

“With a population in the region of over 3.5 million, there is still plenty of room to develop the brand,” he said.

Earlier this year Subway opened its 2,500th UK store, in Bristol, with plans to increase the number of stores across the UK and Ireland to 3,000 by 2020. The move should create 5,000 new jobs.