Tesco has strengthened its central European operations with the acquisition of 128 convenience stores in the Czech Republic for CZK1.02bn koruna (£35.1m).

The deal, completed at the end of December, is subject to regulatory approval and will give Tesco 47 Koruna shops and 81 Zabka franchised kiosks. The stores were sold by private equity form Penta Investments.

Tesco Czech Republic chief executive Philip J Clarke said: “The acquisition of Koruna will complement our continued organic growth of Tesco Express in the Czech Republic. The chain is a good fit with our Express format and we feel we can make improvements to the stores’ range, price and overall customer shopping trip.

“We will continue to operate the Zabka stores as a franchise, which creates the opportunity to combine local entrepreneurial talent with Tesco’s operating scale.”

Tesco generated sales of £1.28bn last year in the Czech Republic, where it already has 173 shops, making it the grocer’s fifth-largest country in Europe by sales.