Sandwich chain Benjys has announced £6 million expansion plan which would see 50 new UK stores in 2006.

The firm said it would prioritise the region's areas that do not have a Benjys outlet.

The expansion will bringing the chain's total number of UK outlets to 330.

Chief executive Ian Rick-wood, who has run the business with his wife Emma since 2000, said it already had a strong presence in London and the South-east but they wanted the rest of the country covered by the end of 2006.

He added: "With the UK sandwich market worth around £3.5 billion we want to increase our share across the nation."

In 2005, the London-based firm spent £4 million opening 25 new stores and 60 mobile units predominately in the capital and on the south coast - taking its total staff to over 650.

Each store employs around ten people and the mobile units, known as "vanchises", are one-person run franchises.

According to the company, they can earn between £20,000 and £60,000 a year delivering hot and cold snacks in business parks and shopping precincts.