The stores will be rolled out over two and a half years and are expected to bring in over R1 billion by 2016.

The retailer’s 49 Foodstop shops currently generate around R600 million in turnover. The latest addition was opened in Sea Point on Thursday.

Paula Disberry, Woolworths Group Director for Retail Operations, says the idea behind the roll-out is to expose the Woolworths brand and quality produce to a wider audience in non-urban and outlying urban areas.

The high-end retailer has, over the past few years, increased the number of black consumers shopping at Woolworths stores, with black consumers representing 50% of sales. Black people are, however, spending less than their white counterparts.

The growth Woolworths has experience among black consumers aligns with the country’s growing black middle class demographic.

A comprehensive study conducted by researchers at the University of Stellenbosch documented how the country’s black middle class has grown from 350 000 people in 1993 to just under three million last year.

“Woolworths and Engen are complementary, market-leading brands that attract a similar customer who demands quality and convenience. The forecourt model is particularly attractive for Woolworths as, not only can our customers shop for Woolworths food around the clock, but the Engen forecourts allow us to reach new customers,” said Disberry in a statement.

The forecourt retail market has mushroomed over the past decade, becoming a highly lucrative yet competitive market.

Pick n Pay has gone into partnership with BP, Fruit & Veg City has teamed up with Caltex, while the Spar group recently joined the club launching a Spar Express store in Johannesburg’s East Rand in August.

The next Foodstop store is planned for Upington in the near future.