Tesco planning international push

80 per cent of planned store openings this year will be outside of UK, says supermarket giant.
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Tesco is celebrating another year of double digit growth, but is still forging on with ambitious growth plans for 2008 and beyond.

The retail behemoth is planning to open over 11.5m square feet of new group space this year, 80 per cent of which will be outside the UK.

Tesco's international business delivered a strong performance for the year ending February 23rd 2008, contributing 54 per cent of the growth in group sales and 50 per cent of the growth in group trading profit.

Total international sales grew strongly - by 25.3 per cent at actual exchange rates to £13.8 billion and by 22.5 per cent at constant exchange rates. China contributed £702m to sales. In Asia, sales grew by 27.2 per cent at actual exchange rates and by 30.9 per cent at constant rates to £6.0 billion. Excluding China, Asia sales grew by 12.3 per cent and 15.1 percent at constant exchange rates.

In Europe, sales rose by 23.9 per cent at actual rates and by 16.1 per cent at constant rates to £7.8 billion. Central Europe delivered strong growth. Reporting on US interests will begin in September.

Tesco's total group sales grew by 11.1 per cent to £51.8 billion for the period, with group trading profit up 11 per cent at £2,751 million.

"The breadth of the group and the strength of our business model have enabled Tesco to deliver another year of double digit sales, profit and earnings per share growth - in challenging market conditions," said chief executive Terry Leahy.

"We begin the new financial year confidently - with a good start in the UK, excellent progress in our established international markets and promising early performance from our investments in future growth, particularly in the US."

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