Sainsbury's has announced that it wants to grow its convenience offering by adding up to 100 Local stores in the next 12 months.

The chain opened 51 c-stores in 2009/10, increasing its total to 335, but now intends to add up to 100 Locals to the estate in each of the next few years.

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said that the new stores would be a mix of new retail developments and existing vacant units, and that it had already earmarked a number of sites.

In the supermarket's annual preliminary report chief executive Justin King said that the four major grocery chains made up less than 15% of the convenience store market and that there was a significant opportunity for multiples. It is the fastest-growing sector in the grocery market and a growth area for Sainsbury's, he added.

When questioned over a potential backlash to its plans, the spokeswoman said: "Our experience shows the addition of a Sainsbury's Local can offer many advantages to communities and traders through added investment, jobs and increased footfall that benefits all."

Earlier this year Tesco also declared that it would target the small store sector, which it said offered it the potential for 1,000 new Express stores.