Sainsbury chief executive Sir Peter Davis issued a blunt response to Asda's claim to be heading for the number two spot in UK grocery by the end of the year. Speaking at the opening of a refurbished Central store in Westminster on Monday, Sir Peter said: "It's balls. Asda has produced some good results this year. But I'd be very surprised if they overtook us by any real measure in the next couple of years. They keep threatening to of course." He said Sainsbury was now looking at developing its non food offer with new lines to be unveiled as larger stores were refurbished. His comments followed last week's opening of a store at Monks Cross in York with over a quarter of its selling space devoted to non food ­ a first for Sainsbury and a sign of things to come, said Sir Peter. "York is the first of many. We're very pleased with the progress we've made to date and we're looking at extending our non food offer further. It's an increasing priority." Sainsbury was also keen to develop the Local format beyond the south-east after achieving success in areas such as Liverpool and Coventry. He denied suggestions that Sainsbury's plans to develop forecourt Locals through a partnership with Shell were behind schedule, despite an apparent lack of progress over the past year. After announcing a tie up in July 2000 and rapidly building six trial sites, both sides have so far refused to comment on the likelihood of a rollout, although most of the sites have been running for over a year. "The six trial sites are performing well," said Sir Peter. "We are still in discussions with Shell." {{NEWS }}