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CHESHUNT, Hertfordshire -- Tesco, the United Kingdom's top supermarket, is on its way to being No. 1 in the country's convenience store sector by year's end, predicts London-based market analyst Verdict Research in a new report.
Family-owned, corner shops have traditionally led the U.K. c-store sector. Tesco currently accounts for 29.1 percent of all grocery sales in the United Kingdom, according to published sources.
The company's acquisition last year of Adminstore, operator of the London-area banners Europa, Harts, and Cullens, gave rise to fears among smaller c-store competitors that large grocery retailers will push down prices, driving less powerful players out of business.
Last year, Tesco was responsible for 5 percent of convenience-store retailing last year, but is expected to catch up to its nearest competitors, the report said. Tesco's share of the c-store market went up 1 percent in 2004, due not only to its acquisitions, according to Verdict analysts, but also strong comparable-store growth, further development of its Express format, and the renovation of a number of its stores.
Gavin Rothwell, a senior retail analyst at Verdict, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that Tesco's growth had outpaced all earlier projections: "We were not expecting it to become the biggest this year. This time last year we were envisaging a three-year time frame for that, so Tesco is one year ahead of where we expected it to be."