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Expansion is possible despite recession -- Tesco boss

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CEO of Tesco
Ireland Tony
Keohane near
his office in
Dun Laoghaire,
Dublin

CEO of Tesco Ireland Tony Keohane near his office in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Tesco. Photo: Press Association

Tesco. Photo: Press Association

/

CEO of Tesco Ireland Tony Keohane near his office in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

The chief executive of Tesco Ireland, Tony Keohane, believes there are "opportunities in the future" to expand the chain's 'Express' convenience format here despite the brutal retail environment.

Tesco currently operates just 26 Express outlets in Ireland, with the stores pitched to compete against rivals such as Eurospars and larger-format Centras. The Spar franchise in Ireland is controlled by BWG, while the Centra-symbol brand is owned by Cork-based Musgrave.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Keohane said that since the property collapse, lease agreements and costs have become more "reasonable".

"The bottom line is we will not sign a lease where it would require us to put prices up," he claimed.

He added that the group had taken a measured approach to the roll-out of the Express format.

"We've always been cautious. We were cautious in the boom times because the rents were too high. If the stores are in the right location and they're of a size that the community can support and need, then we're interested," he said.

"We still think there are opportunities in the future."

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