Sainsbury’s has continued its assault on the convenience sector with a 20% increase in sales through Local stores over the past six months.

According to its interim results for the 28 weeks to September 29, Sainsbury’s opened 351,000 sq ft of space, made up of five supermarkets, three extensions and 49 Local stores, expanding its convenience estate to 487.

In a statement it reported: “Our convenience business continues to perform strongly, with almost 20% year-on-year growth. We are meeting our target of opening one-to-two convenience stores each week, and in the first half of the year we opened 49 stores taking our convenience total to 487. We now have a programme to upgrade existing convenience stores with an improved fresh food offer.”

Sainsbury’s also refurbished 12 of its convenience stores during the first half of the year and has reported “a good sales uplift” for these stores.

The supermarket chain recorded a 4.1% increase in total sales for the past six months (28 weeks to September 29) with like-for-like sales up 1.7%. Pre-tax profits increased by 2.5%, from £395m in the previous half year to £405m.

Fresh food was also a factor in growing sales, with one in every five pounds spent on fruit and vegetables spent at Sainsbury’s. It reported that its fresh food counters grew market share faster than at any other major retailer.

According to Kantar figures, the chain also reached a market share of 16.7%, the highest for almost a decade. This follows 31 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth.