Sainsbury’s has announced an added focus on its convenience estate over the next 12 months.

In the supermarket group’s preliminary results, chief executive Justin King identified convenience as one of the key strategies for Sainsbury’s in 2013/14 given the strong sales growth its c-store estate saw over the past year.

“We have a pipeline of space ready for development, including planning consents for a number of supermarket extensions, as well as a number of opportunities for new supermarkets and convenience stores,” he said. “The trend for local top-up shopping remains, as customers conserve fuel, minimise waste and manage their budgets. Convenience stores have delivered sales growth of over 17% year-on-year, driven by both new space and like-for-like sales growth.”

The supermarket aims to have more convenience stores in the UK than supermarkets by this time next year. Sainsbury’s currently has 583 supermarkets in the UK, although it also plans to increase this number over the next 12 months.

“We have continued to open one or two convenience stores each week, 87 during the year, bringing our total number of convenience stores to 523,” he said. “In the next year the number of convenience stores will overtake that of supermarkets.”

The supermarket chain recorded a sales increase of 4.6% for the 52 weeks to March 16, 2013 compared to the previous year while its profits fell by 1.4%.