The ratio of Tesco's selling space in the UK to that abroad has shifted further in favour of the retailer's international operations.

International now accounts for 60% of the company's total selling space - up from 57% this time last year - even before the launch of the first of Tesco's Fresh & Easy stores on 8 November.

Tesco has so far added 2.3 million sq ft of selling space to its international portfolio this year and plans to add another 4.7 million sq ft in the next six months, not including the 50 US stores that will have opened by March.

"There is much more investment going overseas and the UK will become a much smaller part of our business proportionally," said Tesco corporate and legal affairs director Lucy Neville-Rolfe.

This week Tesco unveiled group sales up 9.2% to £24.7bn with pre-tax profit up 18% to £1.29bn for the 26 weeks to 25 August.

Tesco UK sales increased by 5.4% to £18.3bn, with like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, up 3.5%. International sales were up 22% to £6.4bn.

Tesco said it had achieved greater efficiencies through continued improvement in availablity, with store managers now closer to the business as they were carrying out more functions on the shop floor.

n The Office of Fair Trading has issued a merger notice for the acquisition of seven former Kwik Save stores by Tesco. The period for considering the notice will end on 30 October.