Sainsbury’s is to sublet one-third of its former SavaCentre store in Merton, south London, to Marks & Spencer. The Times

The 105,000 sq ft M&S store will open next year and will be the largest to open in London for more than eight years.

Ian Dyson, group finance director at M&S, said: ‘Acquiring large out-of-town stores is a key part of M&S’s property strategy which will see us increase our store space by 20pc over the next five years.’

The multimillion-pound deal is the first since Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King pledged to release value from the retailer’s property portfolio.