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Tesco powers ahead to hit store total of 3,153

Tesco has lived up to its pledge to step up its expansion programme, adding 188 new stores last year.

The retail giant laid out plans in its 2010 annual report to plough £1.6bn of capital into the UK economy through new store openings.

According to the Grocery Retail Structure, compiled by IGD and William Reed Business Media, publisher of The Grocer, Tesco expanded its estate by 6.3%, taking the total to 3,153.

Nearly all of Tesco's growth came from its convenience estate, which grew by 10% in the past year to 1,611 stores. C-store chain One Stop added 77 stores to its 520-strong portfolio after snapping up Mills Group in December. And its Tesco Express fascia opened 145 stores to total 1,090 shops. It also opened 18 new supermarkets, taking its supermarket total to 373. And although it had three fewer superstores than last year, store extensions meant it operated five more hypermarkets.

Including the 471 forecourt stores attached to the supermarket estate (an increase of 21 on last year's figure), Tesco is the biggest UK grocery retailer in terms of store numbers.

But although The Co-operative Group is the second-largest retailer by store size, with 2,880 stores, there are 3,032 The Co-operative fascia stores across the movement, and stores operated by other societies total 3,894 stores.

Campaigning groups were less than impressed by news of Tesco's growth.

"The competition authorities continue to fail to see the implications of Tesco's aggressive expansion into the convenience sector. Tesco's expansion is a problem that can no longer be ignored," said Shane Brennan, public affairs director for the ACS.

Added Helen Rimmer, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth: "New national planning policy must strengthen town centres and retail diversity."

However, CACI data has revealed that, in some areas, choice at least among grocery multiples is booming. The data, which plots the number of grocery fascias by district council, found that the seaside council of Thanet, with a population of 132,402, was best for choice.

Despite Margate, within Thanet District Council, being dubbed a 'ghost town' as the UK town with the highest percentage of empty shops (14.5%) earlier this year, our data revealed that Thanet has nine different fascias, comprising 14 supermarkets.

Tesco alone has four stores, with two Marks & Spencer outlets, two Aldis, a Co-op, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Lidl and Iceland. This equates to a population per fascia of 14,711 people, and a population of 8,827 per grocery store.

... but tesco isn’t the fastest-growing supermarket chain. Here are the top four:

B&M Retail: 232 stores, up 82.7%
Haldanes/Ugo: 43 stores, up 65.4%
Asda: 518 stores, up 48%
Poundland: 326 stores, up 20.7%

Source : Beth Phillips - The Grocer

23 May 2011
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