Tesco is worth almost €2.5bn to the Republic of Ireland's economy and is a bigger buyer of Irish food and drink than France, Germany or the US, according to new data.

The figure is contained in a report by economic consultants Indecon, commissioned by Tesco to mark the 10th anniversary of its arrival in the Irish market through the purchase of the Quinnsworth chain.

Since then it has become the Irish market leader, with a 26% share of grocery sales in the country.

The report says Tesco last year spent €1.28bn on Irish products and services.

It also exported €655m worth of Irish food to its international network of more than 2,200 stores and created additional "intersectoral" demand of €558m in the Irish economy, bringing Tesco's total value to the Republic to almost €2.5bn.

Tesco has 98 stores in Ireland and is set to add a further seven or eight a year for the foreseeable future.

It is represented in all the Republic's 26 counties, with the exception of Kilkenny.Tesco employs 13,000 people while indirectly supporting another 14,000 jobs. Its wage bill is €227.5m, up 70% in the past five years, and it paid the Irish Exchequer €135.5m in tax in 2006.

Tesco does not publish its profit figures for the Republic - an issue that has attracted criticism from consumer groups and from RGDATA, the independent grocers' organisation - but has said they are improving. Sales to the end of August rose 8% to €1.2bn.