Hardware and variety store group Wilkinson has moved into neighbourhood retailing with the launch of a small-store format that has 7/11 opening hours.

The 1,400 sq ft store in Stapleford town centre, Nottinghamshire, was described by the retailer as “a must-have stop for everyday essentials”, although it does not sell food. A second small shop is due to open at Kings Heath in Birmingham on December 14.

Wilkinson is being reinvigorated by chief executive Stuart Mitchell, a former Sainsbury’s managing director, who believes there are many opportunities it can seize.

The retailer wants to double store numbers to 500 before 2012 and is considering venturing overseas. At present, it has 287 shops.

Wilkinson’s pre-tax profits jumped 88 per cent to£48.4 million in the year to February 2. Sales increased 9.7 per cent to£1.3 billion.