SAINSBURY'S has announced it will close 'up to' 70 Argos stores and 15 supermarkets and 40 convenience stores.

The closures are part of a plan to reduce costs by £500m over five years and comes after the failure of its ill-fated £7.3 billion takeover tilt for rival Asda.

But the super giant has said it plans to open 10 big stores and some 110 convenience outlets under the plan, which it insisted will increase its store estate.

Details of the plans came as Sainsbury's announced a 0.2 per cent fall in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, over its second quarter to September 21.

Sainsbury's also revealed narrowed sales declines in its second quarter, but warned over a £50 million hit to underlying half-year profits. It blamed the interim profits on the impact of cost cutting, with weather and higher marketing costs also taking their toll.

It has not been revealed which stores are at threat and Sainsbury's has declined to say how many jobs would be impacted by the changes.

The five-year plan is being led by chief executive Mike Coupe.

Mr Coupe said: "Sales momentum was stronger in all areas and we further improved our performance relative to our competitors, particularly in grocery.

"Argos continued to grow market share in key categories, but sales were impacted by reduced promotional activity and the timing of new product releases in gaming and toys."

In recent years high streets have been under pressure from the rise of online shopping, high business rates in some parts and a squeeze on household incomes since the financial crisis.