Sainsbury's is due to complete the acquisition of 15 former Kwik Save stores by the end of the month.

The sale of seven leaseholds was finalised on Monday, and the remaining eight stores were expected to be in Sainsbury's hands by 30 September. A phased conversion programme has been planned and the stores, which average at 6,000 sq ft, are expected to be operational by Christmas as Sainsbury's Locals.

"This acquisition represents a significant development in our plan to open 100 new convenience stores over the next three years," said Darren Shapland, Sainsbury's chief financial officer.

The stores are all situated in town centre locations in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales. Staff previously employed by Kwik Save will be offered employment.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's is beginning a radical re-merchandising programme and range overhaul of its 305-store convenience estate.

The new-look stores would have a greater proportion of fresh and chilled foods, it said. The goal was to create more of a "neighbourhood store" rather than the existing "small supermarket" format.

A new strapline - 'Sains­bury's Local, Your Local Sainsbury's' - would also be added to in-store signage.