Tesco has told just-food that it plans to continue pressing for unbridled expansion in the Thai retail sector, despite mounting opposition from local retailers.

Thai retailers yesterday (17 October) took to the streets to express their opposition to the expansion of foreign retailers, despite a ban on protest introduced after last month’s military coup.

Nevertheless, Tesco told just-food that it hopes to push ahead with expansion plans that include the opening of 200 small-scale Express format stores by the end of the year.

“Our position hasn’t changed. We are engaged in continuing talks with the Thai government, and we hope to explain the benefits of modern retail in Thailand,” Greg Sage, Tesco international spokesperson explained.

Tesco said that when the Thai government establishes a working group to examine the issue, which will include representatives from the Thai Retail Association, the UK-based supermarket operator will work within this framework towards an acceptable solution.

In the face of opposition to foreign retail expansion, French retailer Carrefour has proposed a compromise to end the bitter dispute. Carrefour suggested that retailers refrain from opening stores of less than 300 square metres. If accepted, this proposal would not affect Carrefour’s own expansion strategy, as the French supermarket giant has no plans to open small-scale outlets.