The retailer, which has sent a crack team including future chief executive Philip Clarke on a three-day visit to Asia, told investors and analysts there that it had great plans for expansion in the region, including a target to quadruple sales in China to £4bn during the next five years.
In South Korea – Tesco’s biggest market outside the UK – sales jumped 6.7% in the nine weeks to the end of October, while sales were up by 8.3% in China and by 18.3% in India, where Tesco has 10 stores.
Tesco now generates 31% of its sales and 22% of its profits abroad, compared with 10% and 5% respectively 10 years ago.
However, forays into some parts of the globe – including the US with its loss-making Fresh & Easy chain – have been a disappointment.
Clarke, currently Tesco’s Asia and Europe director who replaces Sir Terry Leahy as chief executive in March, said Tesco’s international arm was an “increasingly important engine for growth”.
Tesco relies on overseas growth as UK sales stall (05 Ocotber 2010)
Tesco to credit booming Asia for H1 growth (2 October 2010)