Sainsbury's is accelerating growth of its c-store portfolio, having opened seven new Sainsbury's Local stores in the past 12 weeks.

The retailer, which added just 16 Local stores to its estate in the previous 12 months, says it will open 50 new stores in 2009-10 and a further 100 in 2010-11.

Speaking at the recent BRC Annual Retail Convention in London, Sainsbury's convenience director Dido Harding said now was a great time for expansion in the convenience market.

"There are opportunities as it is not just a flash in the pan. There are changes in society, not just as a result of the recession, but from the growth in single households and more working partners," she said.

The retailer has been trialling different store formats including 'food on the move' and 'local neighbourhood', in five locations.

Harding added that the fact its convenience format required significantly less capital expenditure than its superstores meant that it could "turn the tap on and off" for store openings, and now the tap was "firmly on".