Sainsbury's is planning to sell 36 Bells and Jackson's stores it acquired to convert to its Sainsbury's local format.

The supermarket bought the chain Bells Stores for£22 million in 2004, followed by the acquisition of the 114-store chain Jackson's Stores. However, following a strategic review, some sites have been deemed “unsuitable” for the conversions.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “Some of the stores are too small or have physical constraints for future potential development. We are confident we can sell these sites and are in discussions with a number of parties regarding a sale of these stores.”

The stores will be put on the market as going concerns, which will safeguard jobs. Sainsbury's has committed to completing the conversions of the rest of the stores by the end of its financial year.

The stores affected are in Thornaby in Teesside; Middlesbrough, Great Ayton and New Marske in Yorkshire; Yarm, Wynyard, Stockton and Guisborough in Cleveland; and Hartlepool, Darlington, Newton Aycliffe and Peterlee in County Durham.