Tesco has said that the Czech Zabka outlets it has bought from Slovak financial group Penta Investment will “compliment” the growth of the UK retailer’s Express stores in the country.

Tesco this morning (23 December) announced that it has acquired the Zabka and Koruna retail outlets in the Czech Republic from Penta for CZK1.2bn (US$62.1m). The purchase includes 81 Zabka stores and 47 Koruna supermarkets.

Philip Clarke, CEO of Tesco’s international business, said: “The acquisition of Koruna will complement our continued organic growth of Tesco Express in the Czech Republic. The chain is a good fit with our Express format and we feel we can make improvements to the stores’ range, price and overall customer shopping trip. We will continue to operate the Zabka stores as a franchise, which creates the opportunity to combine local entrepreneurial talent with the operating scale of Tesco.”

Tesco operates around 151 stores and six shopping malls throughout the Czech Republic, employing around 13,000 staff. Sales in the year to February 2010 were GBP607m (US$933m).

Penta is also considering selling its Zabka stores in Poland. The firm owns a network of around 2,300 stores in the country.

No date has yet been set for a final decision on the sale, although a spokesperson for Penta told just-food that it is considering three options for the Zabka chain.

“One is to sell the company 100%, the second option is to float it on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and the third option is really to keep the company fully in our hands, as we see good potential in the growth of the business,” the spokesperson said.