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End-user round-up: supermarkets

Tesco ‘pledges’ more stores; Eurospar looks to the future; Midcounties turns in a solid performance; shopper visits at Aldi rise

Tesco dominates the news as ever with another sales story of impressive growth; this time a 9.5 per cent rise for the core UK business (4.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis) with 2.7 per cent growth from new stores. But it is the ‘pledge’ to take over the high streets and towns of the UK - as well as accusations of ‘slashing’ fees to construction suppliers - that has caught the eye.

In its preliminary full year results for the 53 weeks ended 28 February 2009, Tesco announced plans to open more than 8m sq ft of new group space this year - including 75 per cent outside the UK.

International expansion aside, a breakdown for the UK shows that new space for the next financial year will be equivalent to an additional 6.4 per cent of sales area.

This year (2008/9) it opened a total of 2.0m sq ft of new sales area, of which 362,000 sq ft was in store extensions, principally for Extra. It opened another 11 Extra hypermarkets - six from extensions to existing stores and five new stores, bringing the total to 177, with a further 15 planned this year.

Extra now represents 40 per cent of our total sales area. It also opened 21 new superstores and 125 new Express stores, bringing the overall total number of Tesco stores to 2,282.

After confirming its stores generate sales of £1bn a week, news also emerged that it has moved to cement its place as the UK’s leading retailer by starting a trial of a new smaller store format in Scotland.

The stores - designed to meet the discount/value sector’s retailers head on - will trade off a footprint of around 15,000 sq ft.

Eurospar

The Henderson Group, owners of convenience retail brand Eurospar in Northern Ireland, has opened a second ‘Store of the Future’, a 6,000 sq ft outlet in Bangor, County Down.

The ‘Store of the Future’ has been built using Henderson’s low carbon blueprint, and will provide a template for new and refurbished stores.

Through a combination of measures to save energy, the store’s carbon footprint is 28 per cent less than an equivalent store built in 2006.

These measures will also deliver 22 per cent savings for the Group’s stores’ energy bill based on 2006 baselines.

Henderson’s has put aside around £14 million for expansion in 2009.

Separtely, symbol group Spar is to open the first Eurospar in England next month. Tates, a retail division of wholesaler A F Blakemore, which distributes for Spar in the Midlands and parts of Wales will open two stores: a 5,000 sq ft outlet in Nottingham; and a 6,800 sq ft one in Sheffield.

Midcounties

Midcounties Co-op announced record profits up 35 per cent to £16.2m (£11.9m, 2007/8). The growth was generated primarily from food sales, which were up 7.2 per cent.

Aldi

The German retailers says that year-on-year growth in shopper numbers for the 12 weeks to March 22 rose 16.3 per cent.

Sales for January and Feburary rose 16.8 per cent; with shopper numbers up 12.2 per cent.

The news was released following the grocer’s opening of its 400th store in Exeter, which takes its branch portfolio in the UK and Ireland to 467.

Aldi’s group managing director says the business will invest £200m this year to reach 500 stores including the refurbishment of 36 and will look to gain market share with more price cuts as it bids for the crown of the cheapest supermarket basket.