Tesco opened 165 new stores last year to smash the 3,000-store barrier, the latest Grocery Retail Structure has revealed.

It added 144 c-stores, 10 superstores, eight hypermarkets, two supermarkets and two forecourts in 2012, taking its portfolio to 3,103, the Grocery Retail Structure from The Grocer/William Reed Business Media and IGD found.

It is the first retailer among the top 10 biggest multi-format estate operators to break the 3,000-store barrier. It now has 289 stores more than The Co-operative Group, which has the second-biggest estate. It also means Tesco has grown its UK store portfolio by 37.5% in five years.

However, although Tesco’s 165 stores easily eclipsed the number of new store openings by any other retailer, its pace of openings was much lower than the previous year when it opened 286 new stores.

Tesco revealed at its annual results last month that it planned to open “a similar amount” to 2012, or 1.4 million sq ft of new space, including “a larger proportion focused on convenience” in 2013/14.

Although Tesco opened the most stores, Sainsbury’s grew its estate fastest in percentage terms (9.5%). It opened 96 stores last year, 83 of them c-stores.

Convenience remains the key battleground among the top 10, with Booker’s Premier fascia opening 102 stores, taking its estate to 2,802 shops. However, if Costcutter and Palmer & Harvey’s tie-up currently under investigation by the OFT had been completed, Costcutter would have increased its estate by 875 stores, or 51.3%, leapfrogging both Musgrave Group and Spar to become the UK’s second-biggest symbol group with 2,579 stores.

Spar was the only retailer in the top 10 to decrease its portfolio.