Tesco sells Polish supermarket business

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Tesco has agreed to sell its business in Poland as it continues to scale back its international operations.

The UK supermarket giant is selling its 301-store Polish business to Danish retail group Salling Group for £181m.

It said the sale would allow it to focus on its central European markets of Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia where it commands more of the market.

The company has also retreated from Thailand and Malaysia so far this year as it curbs its global ambitions.

"We have seen significant progress in our business in Central Europe, but continue to see market challenges in Poland," said Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis.

"Today's announcement allows us to focus in the region on our business in Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, where we have stronger market positions."

The company said it had also made "good progress" in selling its remaining Polish property outside of the deal with Salling. It said it had raised £200m over the past 18 months by either selling or agreeing to sell 22 stores.

The supermarket chain had 2,000 stores across both countries, under the Tesco Lotus brand, and sold them to Thai conglomerate CP Group.

That sale generated enough for a special dividend for shareholders.

Changing habits

Tesco is facing increased competition in the UK as shoppers turn to budget chains such as Aldi and Lidl.

But the coronavirus lockdown has also been changing shopping habits.

People have reverted to shopping the way they did a decade ago by making one big weekly trip to the supermarket, Mr Lewis said in April.

He said Covid-19 social distancing measures mean consumers were shopping less frequently.

The number of transactions in April nearly halved, but the size of the average basket had doubled.

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