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Tesco to step up expansion in Poland


Tesco, the UK retail group, aims to significantly accelerate its expansion in Poland in 2011 and beyond, throwing a direct challenge to Portugal’s Jeronimo Martins, currently the number one retailer in the country.

On 25 November Tesco revealed that it may open even 100 new stores (of various formats) in Poland in its new fiscal year starting March 2011. This compares to 50 new store-openings projected for the current fiscal year ending in February. More detailed plans are to be unveiled in April. The comments came days after the UK retailer announced plans to almost double its store network in Central and Eastern Europe by 2015, to 4.1 million m2 from 2.2 million m2 at the moment.

In the 15 years since its entry into Poland Tesco has invested nearly PLN 10bn (approx. €2.5bn) in the country. At the end of 2009 its Polish store network consisted of 326 outlets, mainly hypermarkets. Jeronimo Martins has a much larger footprint. Biedronka, its flagship discount retailer, alone made revenues of over PLN 16.8bn (€4.2bn) in 2009, compared with PLN 9bn (€2.3bn) for Tesco.

The UK firm employs 28,000 in Poland. Apart from new stores, it is also investing in new logistics facilities, and is about to open a new central warehouse in Southern Poland.

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