US style supercentres could account for up to 4.9% of the total grocery market by the year 2005, according to an IGD report out this week. The report predicts that as many as 56 of these megastores could open in the UK over the next five years, generating sales of up to £5.5bn a year in the process. And it says Asda and Tesco will be the major supercentre operators. A supercentre is defined in the report as "a very large store of around 93,000 sq ft, incorporating a wide range of grocery products, non grocery items and supplementary services". Tesco opened the first of its 12 supercentres ­ known as Extra hypermarkets ­ in Pitsea in 1996. It has announced that a further 12 of these stores, most of which are more than 93,000 sq ft, will be open by the end of the financial year, mainly through expansions of existing stores. Asda launched its Patchway Asda Wal-Mart flagship supercentre in July. And this week it announced plans to add 10 more supercentres to its portfolio over the next five years ­ with the growth again coming through expansion and development of existing sites. The first two will be in Havant, Hants, and Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, opening next month. IGD's report claims that 10 supercentres could generate an extra £200m to £300m in turnover for Asda, which is 3% to 4% of the retailer's existing sales. Asda said the Patchway store already produces sales of around £2m a week and calls it "Wal-Mart's number one outlet worldwide". IGD says while some retailers may try to create their own formats to compete with the supercentres, most will instead try to build on their existing strengths. It suggests they could focus on premium branding, depth and uniqueness of range, improving the product knowledge of staff and remaining convenient for small transactions. {{NEWS }}