Wilko is looking at smaller store formats to expand its central London footprint.

The retailer said the capital was one of its “key acquisition areas” and it was unable to open its usual 15,000 sq ft to 18,000 sq ft store formats due to a lack of availability of suitable retail space. It is now looking at more compact formats.

Wilko has three central London stores located in Fulham, Hammersmith and most recently Kensington High Street, which opened in December last year.

Fulham is the largest of these, with a sales area of almost 9,000 sq ft, while both Kensington and Hammersmith are between 5,000 sq ft and 6,000 sq ft.

Wilko has also appointed Argos retail stores director Anthony Houghton as retail director.

Houghton, who will take over from Robin Lassiter after his retirement, will support Wilko’s focus on new, smaller formats and continue its objective to open 100 new stores in the next five years.

Houghton joined Home Retail Group as an Argos regional general manager in 2010 and was promoted to stores director four years later, taking responsibility for 846 Argos stores.

During his time with Argos, Houghton supported the digital development store formats, delivered significant sales and profit growth, opened 170 new format stores, launched same-day delivery and embedded eBay across all stores.

Before joining Home Retail Group, Houghton worked with Dixons, Currys, Woolworths and Pedigree Group. Houghton will take a place on the Wilko Trading Board and will report to chief operating officer Sean Toal.

After 10 years with Wilko, 60-year-old Lassiter will retire to be replaced by Houghton after a four-month handover period.

“It’s a great business with great people,” said Lassiter. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here and 10 years has gone very fast.”