Tesco has bolstered its South Korean business with the acquisition of 36 Homever stores for £958 million.

Most of the shops, bought from E-Land group, are former Carrefour hypermarkets and the majority will be converted to Tesco’s Homeplus format over the next 12 months.

Tesco said the stores, mainly in the Greater Seoul and Gyeonggi metropolitan area, will strengthen Homeplus’s market position.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said: “This acquisition of high-quality assets is an important strategic move, which will allow us to accelerate growth in this key market.”

Tesco’s Samsung South Korean division, established in 1999, now has 66 Homeplus hypermarkets and 72 Homeplus Express stores. Sales in the year to February were£2.7 billion.