Tesco Ireland is planning to raise some €70m (£57m) in the coming months through the sale of unwanted properties and undeveloped sites across the Republic.

Sources close to the company stressed that the sell-off did not signal a retrenchment and that the money would be used to fund future expansion. Sixteen new outlets would be opened by early next year, bringing the retailer’s total in the Republic to about 120, they said.

The sites being sold off, which were originally bought for new stores but never developed, are understood to be in counties Cork, Tipperary, Galway and Kildare.

In addition, up to 10 properties could be put on the market in sales to be handled by commercial estate agent DTZ Sherry FitzGerald.

One of the properties on offer will be Tesco’s former distribution depot in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght, which has been lying idle since operations transferred to a modern warehousing complex in Donabate.

Tesco recently raised about €120m in a sale-and- leaseback deal on the new complex, which covers 780,000 sq ft on a 42-acre site and employs 600 staff.