Sainsbury's has snapped up five stores from Somerfield as it accelerates its expansion programme.

The move comes as Sainsbury's opened a new distribution centre for its northern convenience stores on the back of increased volumes from successful store conversions of the Bells and Jacksons businesses.

The Somerfield acquisition, which comprises stores of an average size of 11,000 sq ft, are expected to open under the Sainsbury's Local fascia by Christmas.

Darren Shapland, chief financial officer for Sainsbury's, said: "We are seeking new sites to accelerate our store development programme. We believe that our commitments to food, quality and the wider community are helping to set us apart from other large retailers when seeking and developing sites."

The five stores are in Littlehampton in West Sussex, Peebles in the Scottish Borders, South Shields in Tyne and Wear, and Pocklington and Yarm, both in North Yorkshire.