UK supermarket group J Sainsbury has announced that it has acquired Bells Stores, a chain of 54 convenience stores in northeast England. 

The stores, located in Teesside, Co Durham, Wearside and Tyneside, are typically around 2,000 sq ft, and are situated predominately in neighbourhood locations. 

Sainsbury’s said the acquisition underlines its commitment to increase its presence in the £21.5bn (US$41.1bn) UK convenience market, one of the fastest growing segments in food retail.

Sainsbury’s currently operates 66 Sainsbury Local convenience stores and a further 15 in partnership with fuel company Shell UK. The retailer has a further 100 stores planned with Shell.