German retailer REWE Group will invest at least EUR100m (US$138.9m) to open 100 new Penny Market stores in the Czech Republic over the next three to five years.

Rewe managing board member Armin Rehberg emphasised the strategic importance of the Czech Republic to the company, suggesting that it is the group’s most important overseas market. This year, the German retail chain expects its sales in the Czech Republic to exceed CZK30bn (US$5.59bn). 

Rewe said that it intends to open 25 of the new outlets before the end of 2009. Unlike previous store openings, some of the new stores will be located towns of less than 10,000 inhabitants, the company revealed.   

Tesco has also revealed plans to expand in the market, where it will open 70 new stores in 2009. However, the UK retailer will close its hypermarket in the Prague suburb Stodulky.