Senior c-store industry figures have poured scorn on Tesco's claims it is going to open 1,000 Express c-stores over the next five years, but the multiple has denied rumours that it will make an acquisition to achieve its goal. Spar md Jerry Marwood said: "It may want 1,000 sites for Express but Spar will be going after those same sites and we are better at getting them as convenience is our business." He added: "I think 1,000 is an overestimate. When Sainsbury launched Local, it was considering 1,000 sites, but there are still fewer than 40 now." IGD senior business analyst James Walton said: "Tesco has been fighting a planning battle for its first site in Southborough for the last three years. If it is that difficult to get one, how is it going to manage 1,000 in five years? It's an ego thing for the multiples to be in a lot of retailing channels. "But convenience is only a sideshow, and they are going to have to place resources back in the main business, big stores, as competition among the multiples heats up." Alldays chief executive Stuart Lawson said he could see Tesco's gameplan: "Tesco is only spending about £350,000 to £400,000 on pre-fab Express. Just one can take business away from four local stores. If I was Tesco I would be going for it with Express." Angus Oughtred, md of Jacksons said: "We have to look to the strengths of our own businesses. We cannot be paranoid about Tesco." Rumours that Tesco might be about to make an acquisition began after it took the unusual step of appointing a third broker, Cazenove & Co. But a senior Tesco executive laughed off rumours that it was planning a bid for Iceland to expand Express, confident that the 1,000 figure could be achieved organically, and said Cazenove simply complemented its other two brokers. Analysts were equally scornful. "Launching a full bid for Iceland would be an act of complete lunacy," said ABN Amro's James Collins. "It's a non runner," said another analyst. "Apart from the fact that Tesco is probably only interested in 10% of Iceland's stores, Big Food Group has spent the last two years welding Iceland to Booker. "Besides, the stores Tesco would be interested in are Iceland's best, and Bill Grimsey is not going to sell off the family silver." {{NEWS }}