Expanding even more…

Tesco enters building market

Published:  26 April, 2010

CHESHUNT: Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket announced plans to build four 'mini-villages' in the South East of England as part of its plans to diversify from retail.

The retailer, which last week announced a record £3.4bn profit, is also planning a series of smaller mixed homes, shops and leisure developments in Ipswich and the North East.

Under the plans, dozens of homes would be built near Tesco stores. But critics on Monday warned its expansion could lead to it becoming too powerful – a claim denied by the company – and called on competition authorities to investigate its "tightening grip" on the British economy.

It raises the possibility of a Tesco customer buying or renting a home through its estate agent services, securing mortgages through its banking arm and purchasing products on its credit cards through stores.

The supermarket is said to be taking advantage of traditional home builders' struggles to raise money from banks, which has forced some developers to build smaller schemes than planned due to a lack of funds.

Tesco's plans were boosted last month when Lambeth Council approved its plan to build 200 homes, a bus depot and ice rink in Streatham, south London.

Approval is expected next month for 400 homes, a primary school, hotel and park next to the Olympic's Park in Bromley-by-Bow, east London.

Other 'mini-villages' are to be built in Dartford, Kent and Woolwich, south east London. Tesco has already built flats next to its stores in Clapham, south London and Kensington, west London.

A spokesperson for the Tesco said suggestions they were building "mini villages" was "going too far".

"Through these developments we are able to invest and create jobs in areas that many other developers cannot and will not."

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