German general merchandise café-cum-retailer Tchibo is understood to have put nearly half of its UK stores on the market, as it seeks to scale back its portfolio of smaller shops.

The 73-store retailer has drawn up a list of 33 non-performing stores it wants to dispose of. The stores are in locations including Durham, Macclesfield, Wakefield, Croydon, Chelmsford, Blackpool, Ashford and Basingstoke.

A Tchibo spokeswoman said: “Following the appointment of Paul Chadderton as managing director of Tchibo Great Britain, the company is analysing its retail business in all aspects.”

Tchibo plans to restructure its retail channel to concentrate on larger stores and will continue to expand its supermarket business.

The spokeswoman said: “This is to bring the UK business in line with the overall company strategy.”

Tchibo opened its first store in the UK in 2000. At the time, UK management said it operated nearly 800 standalone stores in Germany and the UK could sustain about 500.

Its product ranges are themed each week, with merchandise ranging from kitchenware to camping and lingerie to laptops.

In the UK, it also has more than 200 concessions in Somerfield and Sainsbury’s, as well as a mail order and internet business. It has about 60,000 stores worldwide.

Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said: “Tchibo has an attractive format and works well in high footfall areas. It could well have concluded that the supermarkets provide them with the highest footfall and perhaps some of its stores are in fairly quiet town centres.”

In December, it promoted Chadderton to managing director of Tchibo Great Britain from managing director of Tchibo Coffee International.

Tchibo Great Britain’s sales increased 14 per cent to£50 million for the year to December 31, 2006.