Tesco is preparing to open a chain of franchise convenience stores in South Korea.

Tesco has been trialling 18 franchise stores in South Korea, its largest market outside the UK, and will expand the model to other countries, Philip Clarke said.

“We have got an obligation to the communities that we serve. Some of those communities feel threatened because they feel that the arrival of modern, organised retail means that the other small retailers close. This is a great way of helping them find another opportunity,” Clarke told The Telegraph. “As a consumer you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. It is a bit like a franchised McDonalds.”

The announcement came as Carrefour dropped Tesco from the auction for its stores in Southeast Asia. The French giant will collect second-round bids by November.