Tesco will open another 130 Express stores in the next year, bringing the total to 780.
The supermarket giant boasts that more shoppers than ever now have access to its c-stores, with 115 added to the portfolio in the past year. It also describes the Express format as "delivering above-average investment returns and representing an important driver for growth".
The c-stores contributed to the chain's record annual financial results which saw underlying profit reach £2.25bn - 17% up on last year - on group sales up 13.2% to £41.8bn. Like-for-like sales at its UK outlets, excluding new store openings, rose by 7.5%.
Tesco now has a 30% share of UK supermarket sales.
Boss Sir Terry Leahy said he was satisfied with the retailer's performance over the past year and pointed to better on-shelf availability, new technology to reduce queues and shelf-ready packaging as positive steps that had improved the shopping experience.
And Leahy hit back at critics who have attacked Tesco for buying up land to prevent competitors from getting access to it. "There is no such thing as a land bank," he said. "We only own land in order to develop it for Tesco. If we cannot develop it for Tesco, we sell the land on." He also denied that the chain was totally dominant in the UK grocery sector.
The past year saw substantial international expansion, with non-UK sales now accounting for nearly a quarter of Tesco's total revenues. The retailer opened 238 new stores overseas last year and plans a further 419 international store openings in the current year.

Topics