Food and grocery think tank the Institute of Grocery Distribution is forecasting substantial growth in Tesco's worldwide operations over the next five years.

In a report on Tesco's international strategy IGD says that by 2010 it expects the company's global turnover to reach nearly GBP63bn (US$109bn), compared with GBP34bn this year. Tesco will have more than 4,350 stores, nearly half of which will be outside the UK.

"Tesco is actively watching a number of countries, weighing them up for possible entry in the medium term," said Steve Barnes, business director at IGD. "India and the USA are the most likely places that Tesco will be looking to for new growth prospects, as well as continuing to invest in existing markets like Central Europe and the rest of Asia. The future is definitely international for Tesco, and we expect store numbers, sales area and the profit contribution of their overseas operations to roughly double by 2010."

Worldwide store numbers are expected to rise from just over 2,360 currently to more than 4,365 by 2010. Nearly half (48%) of Tesco's stores will be outside the UK by 2010, compared to 25% in 2005. By 2010, Tesco's sales area will increase from 51.8million sq ft currently to 100.3m.