Sainsbury's has made its first foray into the motorway service station sector by opening a Local store on the M11 - but has denied it is planning a sell-off of Jacksons stores.

The new 2,200 sq ft shop, at the Birchanger Green Welcome Break near Stansted Airport, opened this week in what the chain calls a "one-off trial".

It will have the same offer as any other Local and the chain said it will decide whether to extend the initiative after six months.

Jonathan Lawson, director of operations Sainsbury Convenience, said: "We are happy with city and neighbourhood models but are looking at a travel strategy."

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's has denied that it is in secret talks to sell up to 30 Jacksons stores to the Co-operative Group, despite contrary claims from the commercial property sector.

One source in the property industry told The Grocer: "Sainsbury's wants to keep stores with the highest turnover, while the Co-operative Group is not interested in stores at the bottom end. So it's doing an analysis of mid-range stores with permission from Jacksons."

He said Sainsbury's had been considering selling most of the stores it had taken on after its 2004 acquisition of Jacksons. Sainsbury's decision to manage convenience distribution from its Holborn HQ rather than centralising it in the north east of England had indicated its thinking.

Another source said Sainsbury's did not see the society as a direct competitor in the convenience.

The Co-operative Group denied a deal was looming.