SLOVAKIA: Tesco is set to roll out Extra hypermarkets across Slovakia and other central European countries following the recent opening of a pilot store in Petrzalka, Slovakia. Peter Varmua, COO of Tesco Stores Slovakia, said performance was being monitored carefully but if Extra was a success, it would be a springboard to expand further into other markets.

"The new format represents a revolutionary change in the concept of large-scale stores uniquely tailored to the wishes and expectations of customers in the cities," he said.

THE NETHERLANDS: Beer volumes at Heineken have dropped 5% in the past three months. The Dutch drinks giant cited falling demand in Russia as a factor, with value sales down 3.5% on the same period last year to €2.94bn. But pre-tax profits were up by a "mid-single digit" figure, the company said, with net earnings including exceptional items up to €218m. The fall in volumes follows a 5% drop at the brewer in 2009.

US: Coca-Cola Company CEO Muhtar Kent has played down fears that the drinks giant's acquisition of the North American operations of Coca-Cola Enterprises will result in job cuts. He told Coca-Cola's annual shareholder meeting that a test programme using Costco Wholesale as an intermediary to deliver drinks to 7-Eleven stores in southern California was just one method being explored.

"This test is one of many taking place," he said. "We are a long way from making any decision. These kinds of discussions go on across the world with many customers with one objective in mind to stay ahead of our consumer and customer expectations."

AFRICA: Low cocoa output from the world's top two growers, Ivory Coast and Ghana, could cause a global supply deficit that will hit chocolate manufacturers globally. The shortfalls from neighbouring West African states, which together make up about half of world production, were revealed in official data from Reuters this week. The International Cocoa Organisation said world cocoa demand would outpace production by the year-end by up to 18,000 tonnes.