Sainsbury's is to convert its Jacksons and Bells convenience stores to Sainsbury's Locals within a year in a bid to cut costs and boost sales.

Lawrence Christensen, Sainsbury's head of convenience, said the shake-up would create a more unified business with "one team, one price, one range, one IT system, one consistent process and one brand".

"The change will make running the business a great deal easier," he said, and would make a major contribution to Sainsbury's recovery plans.

The different stores' IT systems had not been compatible, making it "hard to see exactly what was going on in the Jacksons and Bells stores," he admitted.

Sainsbury's acquired the 119 Jacksons stores in 2004. Seventy-nine of these were converted to Sainsbury's at Jacksons, while the remaining 40 continued to carry the Jacksons facia.

The 59 Bells stores were acquired later in 2004. Thirty-one were renamed Sainsbury's at Bells while 28 remained Bells.

Christensen was adamant that shoppers would not be disgruntled to see the 150-year-old Jacksons brand and the 39-year-old Bells fascia disappearing from the high street.

"They will now be able to benefit from Sainsbury's Nectar card scheme, and choose from a much larger fresh food range," he said.

The rebranding exercise will help Sainsbury's towards its target of £400m of extra convenience store sales by March 2008, when chief executive Justin King's three-year recovery plan will mature.

Sainsbury's nationwide convenience business will now be split into three regions - Central and West, North, and South, with a regional managing director responsible for each. The retailer's human resources, profit protection and finance teams will be

re-aligned to better support the new field structures.

Christensen said the majority of staff working for Bells and Jacksons would be transferred to Sainsbury's, keeping job losses to a minimum. Stores will be converted at a rate of 10 a week.