Sainsbury’s has opened a new £30m distribution centre in south London to support the grocer’s convenience store expansion in the capital.

The 250,000 sq ft Thameside Distribution Centre in South East London, which was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today, will support 200 convenience stores stretching from London to Brighton.

The opening of the new distribution centre has created 350 jobs and it will ultimately employ 600 staff when fully operational.

Earlier this year Sainsbury’s revealed that it is accelerating the expansion of its convenience store business in London and the South East with plans to open 50 new stores by early 2014.

Sainsbury’s chief financial officer John Rogers said: “Customers tell us that they like to shop little and often to save money and reduce food waste. Our convenience store business is meeting these trends and the team here at Thameside are perfectly placed to support the growth of our stores.”

Clegg said: “It’s a long-term commitment from Sainsbury’s and [logistics firm] Wincanton and is a sign of their ambitions for growth. As well as the hundreds of jobs this depot creates, it supports the expansion of Sainsbury’s across the rest of the capital and the South East – securing greater opportunities for people across the area.”

Sainsbury’s Local now account for nearly a third of the UK’s convenience market growth, with sales of over £1.5bn and year-on-year growth of over 17%. 

The retailer is planning to open about two convenience stores every week and has over 540 convenience stores nationwide. Over five million customers shop in Sainsbury’s Locals each week.