The UK’s leading supermarket Tesco has been granted planning permission to build one new store and expand two others in Kent, it has been confirmed today.
A new small format outlet has been given approval in Hawkhurst and, subject to completing 106 agreements, its existing stores in Strood and Tenterden are to be redeveloped into an Extra store and extended respectively.
In combination the three developments will add around 300 new jobs to the local area.
Situated at the old Arriva bus the Hawkhurst shop will be 10,000 sq ft in size, the Tenterden store will grow to 15,000 sq ft with new additional non-food lines, and the £45 million revamp of the Strood town centre outlet will see it grow to 60,000 sq ft with a 550-space car park.
Jonathan Simpson, spokesperson for Tesco, said: “This is an exciting time for Tesco in Kent, as we branch into a new location in Hawkhurst and upgrade existing locations.
“We’ve responded to our customers’ demands for more choice and a better shopping experience at these locations and believe that it is the right time to bring a range of improvements to the stores that will help maintain and enhance the vitality and trade in each of the town and village centres.”
These expansion plans come a day before Tesco announces its first quarter sales results, with analysts predicting that recent sunny weather will have turned its below par trading around.
Whilst still by far the largest grocer, and retailer, in the UK, it has been losing market share in recent years with rivals such as Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose all seeing business boom.
Further growth of the kind confirmed by Tesco today however is going to be increasingly difficult without cannibalising existing space and its market dominance works against it in any competition test by the Competition Commission.
Tom Gadsby, Retail Analyst for investment bankers Matrix, commented: “On the evidence to date, we expect the key figure of UK sales growth to come in at +0.5 per cent with, which is like-for-like (LFL) sales growth.
“Tesco has lost 140bp of market since its peak in 2007 and has seen LFL sales actually decline recently, with Q4 down 0.7 per cent. With Morrisons and Sainsbury’s both much improved companies, we see little chance of Tesco re-establishing its previous dominance in the UK.”