Sainsbury‘s has appointed Dixons executive Philip Bell-Brown to the newly-created position of director of property development.

Bell-Brown, whose career also includes stints at Halfords and Boots, will be responsible for acquiring sites, town planning and property communications.

Sainsbury’s, the UK’s third-largest grocer, plans to grow its gross space by 8% in its 2011/12 financial year. In March 2009, the retailer said it would expand its space by 15%. In the two years to March 2011, it opened 15.9% more space.

Bell-Brown said Sainsbury’s “ambitious expansion plans” made it “a very exciting time” to join the company.

He will join Sainsbury’s on 21 November and report into property director Neil Sachdev, who added: “He has an unrivalled reputation in retail and his experience will be instrumental in helping to deliver our future growth in both food and non food.”

Between 2004 and 2006, Bell-Brown was head of acquisitions at Boots. He then worked for two years as head of property at Halfords. From 2008, Bell-Brown has been group property director at Dixons.