London - Subway, one of the largest fast-food chains in the world, plans to open over 1 200 new stores in the UK and Ireland by 2020, creating another 13 000 jobs, it said on Wednesday.

The 1 269-store expansion will take the US sandwich chain to a total of 3 000 franchised stores in the UK and Ireland, and aims to tap rising demand for food-on-the-go and a growing breakfast market.

“In addition to our traditional store development we see new potential in settings such as universities, stations, convenience stores, hospitals, airports and petrol stations,” Mike Charest, Assistant Regional Director for Europe, said.

Subway has seen cheap offers like a 3 pounds ($4.93) lunch prove popular with Britain's cost-conscious consumers, and has also invested in serving a greater demand for low-fat food.

The group, which is headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, has over 41 000 franchised stores in 100 countries, with the UK and Ireland its largest market outside North America.

Within Europe the firm has over 4 200 stores, with the UK, Germany, Poland and Russia its fastest growing countries. It already employs 17 000 people in the UK and Ireland. - Reuters