Tesco today (2 April) played down rumours that it is set to enter Russia and said it is currently focusing its international efforts on the US, India and China. 

Responding to media speculation that the company is in talks with Russian property developers with a view to entering the market, Tesco cited its three priority international markets and said any move into Russia was not a main concern.

“Our priority is to focus on markets like China, India and the US,” a spokesperson for the company told just-food this morning (2 April).

Speaking at the Adam Smith retail conference in Moscow yesterday, Tesco chairman David Reid said that the Russian market was interesting for the company. However, Tesco said it is unable to comment on rumours that it is gearing up to enter Russia.

Industry watchers believe that a move from Tesco into Russia is unlikely in the short term.

“Will Tesco expand into Russia? If Tesco goes in in the next six months, it would surprise me,” Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley told just-food.

“Tesco has got a lot on its plate at this moment in time. It has major expansion plans in the US, which is a large market. It has major expansion plans in China, which has the potential to be a very large market and it has rapid expansion plans in Turkey.”

Tesco launched its US venture, Fresh & Easy, in November and has since opened 61 stores.

In China, the company has focused on running hypermarkets but is set to open its first convenience store in Shanghai.

The UK retail giant has yet to enter India’s fast-growing retail sector but has studied how to follow the likes of Wal-Mart and Metro Group into the market.