Essential Retail can confirm Sainsbury's has started rolling out contactless payment technology to its stores, with an unconfirmed number of stores offering the service to customers.

A Sainsbury's store employee in a Local store in south-west London told this publication the contactless software had gone live in that particular store at 7am on 18 November.

From Twitter, it seems the roll out began in earnest during the week.

The grocer has been criticised for not rolling out the technology sooner, while its competitors, including Tesco, Co-op, Lidl and Morrisons, have all accepted the payments option for over a year, with Co-op having the technology in the business for the last three years.

Sainsbury's said earlier this month that it planned to have the majority of Local stores fitted with the technology by Christmas, with the rest of the store estate following in early 2017.