The UK's largest retailer Tesco is to purchase up to 30 petrol stations and on-site convenience shops from Wm Morrison in a deal estimated to be around GBP55 million.

The move comes as part of Tesco’s strategic plan to expand its footprint of convenience shops across the nation. The country’s leading supermarket said it would re-brand the forecourt shops with its Express brand.

Convenience grocery outlets are currently the fastest growing area for UK supermarket chains because of supermarkets can locate them on previously underserved sites, and planning restrictions in any case limit the development of larger shops.

For its part, the sale is the latest move by Morrison to consolidate after its takeover of Safeway in 2004. The assets were originally joint venture operations between Safeway and BP. The purchase price was not revealed, however Morrison valued the assets at GBP55.3 million at the beginning of the year.

This is a small deal that will allow Tesco to convert freehold sites in good locations, with new and conforming forecourts and shops, to its Express convenience format, the supermarket giant said in a statement.