Sainsbury is to take on Spar's flagship store in Wylde Green, Birmingham, with the opening of its first Local outside the M25 corridor. The new Local, which is due to open next February, will be in the same precinct as the Blakemore owned Spar. Spar welcomed the increase in customers Sainsbury's would bring to the small shopping parade on the main arterial route to Sutton Coldfield. Blakemore retail director Elwyn Davies said: "The public will have to judge us. That Spar franchise is very strong, it has been there eight years. We'll have to deal with it. We're not afraid of Sainsbury." Mark Rollman, senior manager for Sainsbury's Local, said the two stores would complement each other. He said: "We are offering customers more choice. "We hope we can complement Spar's range with our focus on fresh food and perishables." The new Local is a departure from the usual Sainsbury's high street standalone formula. Rollman said: "Up to now we have relied on footfall, but here we expect customers to come by car ­ there is a lot more parking." Rollman said Birmingham was top choice for Local's first provincial location as it was convenient demographically for London's head office and on distribution routes. Sainsbury plans to plough a third of its total capital investment into the West Midlands over the next three years. And it is stepping up the Local opening campaign, with new stores in Brixton and Balham opened last week. Rollman said: "Out of a total of 400 Sainsbury stores, three of the top five by sales per square foot are Locals ­ quite an achievement as there are only 12 open so far." The first Local in a Sainsbury and Shell forecourt collaboration opens in Roehampton on October 27. A further two Shell Local openings will take place in London before Christmas, followed by three in the new year. {{NEWS }}