Thailand has given the go-ahead to plans to use town planning laws to control the expansion of foreign supermarket retailers, which are forcing many smaller Thai retailers out of business.

Interior Deputy Minister Pramual Rujanaseri said that current town planning laws for Bangkok and two neighbouring provinces would be expanded to the country's 73 other provinces. The regulations are likely to keep hypermarkets and superstores out of town and away from freshfood markets and groups of small family-run stores.

Foreign retailers such as the UK's Tesco and France's Carrefour have been expanding rapidly in Thailand and control more than half of the superstore market in Thailand. Tesco Lotus has 31% of the Thai market, while Big C, part of France's Casino group, has 24% and France's Carrefour has 14%, reported Reuters.