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Tesco reveals strong sales in Asia

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Tesco has revealed strong sales growth in Asian markets

Supermarket Tesco has revealed strong sales growth in South Korea, China and India as the chain continues its expansion in overseas markets.

The Cheshunt-based group now generates 31% of sales and 22% of profits from international operations, compared with 10% and 5% respectively 10 years ago.

In South Korea, which is Tesco’s biggest market outside the UK, like-for-like sales growth in the nine weeks to October 31 accelerated to 6.7%, compared with 6% in the previous quarter and 0.6% in the period prior to that.

Sales from stores open more than year in China were up 8.3% in the nine weeks after rising 9.3% in the previous quarter.

Tesco disclosed the latest trading figures on the first day of a three-day visit to Asia it is hosting for retail analysts.

In a presentation led by Asia and Europe director Philip Clarke, who will replace Sir Terry Leahy as chief executive in March, Tesco described its international arm as an “increasingly important engine for growth”.

The company said it stood to benefit from the region’s economic recovery in the short term and from the maturity of its assets over the long term.

Like-for-like sales in Asia and Europe dipped 6.7% at the height of the global recession but rallied 1.8% in the first half of this financial year as Tesco offsets challenging trading conditions in its UK market.

Tesco’s Korean venture, which trades as Homeplus, has grown in the space of 11 years from two stores to a business with annual sales of £4.5 billion and profits of £287 million. It is the second largest retailer in the country behind E-Mart and currently has 118 hypermarkets and 245 superstores.

Meanwhile, at Tesco’s 10-store operation in India, which is branded as Star Bazaar in a joint venture with franchise partner Trent, like-for-like sales rose 18.3% in the nine weeks to October 31.

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