Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, has defended the rapid growth of the retail giant.

Speaking to the BBC, Sir Terry dismissed the recent findings of the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group that the UK high street was eroding, saying that people still had plenty of choice.

“I think there is plenty of evidence to the contrary,” he said.

“Shopping in Britain is very diverse and is changing a lot. More than 90% of people have a choice of three supermarkets.”

He added: “There are relatively few people who have a big problem with Tesco. The reason we are big is that over the years customers have chosen Tesco. We will only stay big if we give customers what they want.”

Sir Terry also admitted that it was difficult to get the balance right between satisfying shoppers and suppliers.

“We don’t make anything we sell so we need our suppliers and we have to have a professional and mature relationship with them,” he said.