Tesco plans to ramp up its convenience arm following a drop in sales for the first half of the year.

In its interim results for the 26 weeks to August 2013, the supermarket chain posted a 0.5% decrease in UK like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) although it did rally in the second quarter of the year to see a 1.0% growth in like-for-like sales. Group profits also declined by 23.5% to £1.3bn.

Its results statement cited “challenging external conditions” for its slow trading performance and announced an intention to become the “leading multichannel retailer”, focusing on “smaller, proximity formats” moving forward with a view to improving sales in the second half of the year.

“We are actively managing our response to the shift in consumer behaviour and have strictly limited our new store openings, focusing on smaller, proximity formats and online. We have also focused on strengthening our customer offer across our entire business.  As a consequence, we expect these markets to deliver a stronger performance in the second half.”

Over the last six months, Tesco has opened 54 Express stores and 16 One Stop sites, accounting for 30% of total space opened by the chain over the period. It has also rolled out a Click & Collect service to nearly 200 sites and refreshed over 30% of its large store estate through its ‘Build a Better Tesco’ programme.