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Tesco set to take online offer global

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Supermarket Tesco will soon be trading online in China, the Czech Republic and Poland, its chief executive-in-waiting has said.

Philip Clarke, who takes over the role from Sir Terry Leahy next year, told the Financial Times today that he wanted to see Tesco sell over the internet in more overseas territories.

Already the supermarket sells in Korea and Ireland. Next year it’s set to open its virtual doors in Poland. Prague and Shanghai are expected to follow soon after.

Clarke, who currently leads the company’s Asian and European arms, told the FT: “I want Andy [Higginson, head of retailing services] to help put internet retail into more markets. I don’t think you can afford to say it’s all sequential, build out a store network and then do the internet.

“I think what you’ve got to say is ‘We’ve got a good store network, we’ve got to do grocery home shopping, what about non-food? What next?”

Tesco already has thriving offline markets in Asia and Europe. In its last financial update, for the first quarter of the year, published in June, it reported growth in Asia of 15.4% (or 4.9% at constant exchange rates) and 7.3% (4.3%) in Europe.

Meanwhile in the UK, sales are growing more slowly, by 6.5%, or 3.8% on a like-for-like basis. At the time, the company said: “The longer-term trends in our international business remain encouraging as the global recovery takes hold.”

Tesco today said it had no further comment beyond that reported by the FT.

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