French retailer Système U has announced plans to launch a chain of convenience stores dubbed U Express.

Speaking at the opening of one the first U Express stores, a 650 sq metre outlet in Rennes, Système U president, Serge Papin, said: “Modes of consumption are changing as the decline in food sales at big edge-of-town retail sites to the benefit of convenience stores testifies.”

Offering a range of 9,500 mostly food products, Système U is planning to have 20 U Express outlets in service by the end of this year and around 100 by 2012. 

The company said it will achieve this by building new stores, transforming some of the group’s existing convenience stores to the U Express brand and acquiring competitor outlets in this segment.