tesco lotus asia

Tesco is expanding its Asian presence with the opening of new stores in Thailand and Malaysia.

The supermarket is set to open 100 more Tesco Lotus stores in Thailand by the end of this year - including hypermarket, supermarket and convenience formats - to take its total estate to 2,000.

It will also renovate 18 stores in its existing estate, which covers 73 Thai provinces.

Tesco Lotus online sales grew at a triple-digit rate over the past year, it revealed this week, but still remained a small percentage of total sales.

“We see an improvement in consumer spending power and feel confident the Thai economy will rise this year,” said John Christie, CEO of Tesco Lotus.

Tesco is also due to open six new stores in Malaysia this year, four of which will be a smaller format.

The supermarket had initially concentrated on opening hypermarkets in Malaysia but is currently downsizing stores in its 56-strong estate to reduce the number by more than 60,000 sq m.

Online accounts for just 2% of Tesco’s sales in Malaysia, having launched in the country two years ago.

“Consumers still want the physical aspect of grocery shopping. They want to touch, see, smell and pick groceries by hand,” said Paul Ritchie, CEO of Tesco Malaysia.

Tesco entered the Thai market in 1994 and the Malaysian market in 2002.