Tesco has started boarding up new stores under development, as part of its drive to slash capital expenditure.

The move, which follows the announcement earlier this month that it would save £400m by slowing the rollout of its store turnaround programme, has resulted in at least two of its stores being put on hold indefinitely, as well as the brakes being put on its big store refurbishment programme.

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A planned £22m, 47,000 sq ft store in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, which had been due to open in November, will now not open until after Christmas at the earliest.

The decision to delay the store comes just weeks after Tesco revealed it was to put back the opening of another superstore, in Immingham, Lincolnshire, until next summer, having originally been due to open it at Christmas.

Tesco sources claimed that the decision amounted to delays rather than a “mothballing” of the sites but could give no date as when the stores would open.