Sainsbury’s has begun talks with independent retailers about direct wholesale supply.

According to sources, reps from the supermarket have begun discreetly approaching store owners about striking a wholesale partnership together. betterRetailing understands the talks are separate from its relationship with SimplyFresh, which has developed from a trial in three of the symbol group’s company owned stores to a rollout across its independent retail estate.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson did not deny the supermarket was having discussions with store owners when asked about the development by betterRetailing. They said: “We’re always looking for new ways to bring our fantastic quality products to even more customers.”

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts recently announced plans for the supermarket to step up its expansion plans by opening 20 to 30 new convenience sites per year. The multiple is looking to add 110 convenience sites over the next three years.

This latest development in the supermarket’s supply strategy comes as Morrisons has also been speaking to independent retailers about direct wholesale supply. Tesco’s Jack’s discount brand was also made available as an own label range to Budgens and Londis retailers, and a symbol group fascia earlier this year.