Tesco to spend €50m this year on Irish expansion

Supermarket group opened its 154th Irish store on Tuesday, on Dublin’s South Lotts Road, near Ringsend

Tesco Ireland says it will spend more than €50 million this year on new stores and refits of its existing outlets, as it targets further growth in the market here as normality returns to the grocery sector after the worst of the pandemic.

The group on Tuesday opened its 154th Irish outlet in the South Lotts area of Dublin, which sits between Ringsend and the capital’s docklands technology hub.

The new outlet, a smaller-format Tesco convenience outlet, will be followed this year by further openings of Tesco Express outlets in Smithfield and Charlemont Square. It will also open a new “superstore” style outlet, known internally as format 25, in Adamstown in west Dublin later this year.

In addition to the €50 million capital expenditure budget for 2022, Tesco is also preparing to rebrand nine of the 10 Joyce’s supermarkets that it recently bought in Galway. It has agreed to offload one of those stores, in Oranmore on the outskirts of the city, to gain approval for the transaction from the State regulator, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

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Earlier this year, Tesco opened its first new Irish store in four years, at White Pines in Rathfarnham. It also opened a new Express outlet this year at Spencer Dock in Dublin.

The new chief executive of Tesco Ireland, Kerry-born Natasha Adams, who returned from the UK in April to run its unit here, has promised more growth in the Irish market.

“We have a line of sight towards growing our business in a significant way over the next three to five years,” she said.

Ms Adams, who sits on Tesco’s powerful executive management committee, was sent to Ireland in April to oversee the expansion by the group’s Cork-born chief executive, Ken Murphy. She replaced Kari Daniels, who departed after running Tesco Ireland for four years.

She acknowledged that price rises were having an impact upon consumers — Irish grocery market inflation is running at 7.7 per cent — but she declined to say if the crisis has peaked: “Prices do have to go up. I wouldn’t want to predict whether they have peaked or not ... But the reality is that other challenges from an inflationary perspective are waiting in the wings, in the form of energy prices increases.”

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column