Elaine Watson Tesco has hosted its second major meet the buyer event in Thailand in a bid to boost its local sourcing credentials. More than 2,000 new suppliers attended Tesco's Vendor Open Day at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre, where they were given an opportunity to secure international as well as local supply deals, a spokesman said. Several vendors were recommended by the Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) as potential Tesco Lotus suppliers, he added. "We've been working with the ministry of trade and commerce to help local manufacturers and suppliers access our international global sourcing programme as well as supplying us locally. "We have a long-term policy to support Thai SMEs. "It is also a great chance for suppliers to see what export opportunities there are to the UK market." Staff from Tesco Lotus trading law as well as technical, supply chain and accounting teams were available to talk to local companies. Although suppliers of all sizes were welcome to find out more about Tesco's sourcing practices, the event was geared towards the needs of small and medium sized companies, said the spokesman. Thailand is one of the stars of Tesco's international division, delivering profits ahead of plan during 2001/2. It will also serve as a test-bed for new retail concepts including standalone Tesco Express stores and a new supermarket format. Deputy chairman David Reid said: "We're already developing compact hypermarkets of about 50,000 sq ft but we'll also be looking at smaller supermarkets in Bangkok this year. We're still developing the format but it won't be branded Metro." By the end of 2002 Tesco aims to have 51 stores in Thailand. {{NEWS }}