Revealing first half profits that broke the GBP1bn (US$1.88bn) mark yesterday (3 October), Tesco said that it intended to increase the pace of its expansion in global markets.

In the first half, Tesco increased its international floor space by 2.49m square feet. The UK’s largest retailer said that it intends to open an additional 4.43m square feet of new space overseas in the second half of this year, meaning that for the full financial year the company will have increased its floor space in overseas markets by 35.6%. By the end of the accounting period, in February, 60% of Tesco’s square footage will be abroad.

Tesco’s international growth flies in the face of current trends, which have seen retailers such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour withdrawing from the international scene to focus on their core home markets of the US and France respectively.

Tesco has repeatedly highlighted the need to adapt to the conditions of any given market, a theme that the group’s chief executive Sir Terry Leahy hit on when he said: “There are not many people who are pursuing international retailing and speeding up like we are. I don’t think anyone else, other than discounter Lidl, is demonstrating the cultural ability to build business from scratch.”