Sainsbury's has strengthened its property management team with the appointment of a second head of property development.

The supermarket plans to increase floor space by 10% to more than 19 million

sq ft by March 2010 and has bolstered its team in a bid to navigate an increasingly challenging property market.

Jamie Cowen has been promoted from regional development surveyor to the new position with immediate effect, and will work with Chris Templeman to grow Sainsbury's property pipeline. Cowen joined Sainsbury's in July 2005 from Whitbread, where he worked on the development of hotels and restaurants.

"We have had great success in the delivery of our property strategy to date, but the market is becoming increasingly competitive," said Peter Baguley, Sainsbury's property director. "Jamie's appointment puts further weight behind the development team and Jamie and Chris will support the team in the delivery of stretching targets. It's great to be able to promote someone internally as it shows our commitment to developing talented property professionals."

Sainsbury's has previously admitted that it took its eye off the ball in the 1990s when it came to developing a property pipeline.

The company explained its concerns about the size of Tesco's land bank in its submission to the Competition Commission's groceries market, claiming Tesco's land holdings would enable its rival to take its national grocery market share to 43% over the next few years.

Sainsbury's is now increasing its own property development activity and wants to complete 75 store extensions, 30 new supermarkets, 100 new c-stores and 190 refurbishments as part of its plans to increase sales space by 10% within the next three years.

Sainsbury's added to its senior property management team last year with the appointment of Matthew Birch from Tchibo as head of asset management with responsibility for getting the best value out of its property portfolio. It is searching for a senior location planning analyst to provide sales

estimates for proposed investments in stores.