Tesco has Extra potential for big-store growth

Tesco could reach a total of 400 UK hypermarkets in the long term, according to a leading food sector analyst.

In a note, Citigroup Smith Barney's influential analyst Dave McCarthy said: 'Tesco already operates circa 450 superstores and most of these are extendable locations. Tesco has purchased many stores with extensions in mind. Even in sites that appear landlocked, Tesco has a format to fit.'

In the past year, Tesco has opened two Extra stores - in Altrincham, near Manchester and Burnley - on stilts, with car parking on the ground floor, with the store above.

A Tesco spokesman refused to comment on the 400 figure, but said growth of the Extra format is crucial in doubling its non-food market share to 12 per cent. Tesco has 83 Extra stores and opened its first in Ireland earlier this month.