Tesco sells Polish supermarkets in £181m deal

Tesco sales return to growth.

In a move to focus more on UK operations, Tesco (LON: TSCO) has announced plans to sell its Polish business in a £181m deal.

The UK supermarket chain will sell its 301 stores to Danish retail group Salling Group, who owns the Netto Group.

Tesco has scaled back from global operations in recent years, most recently selling branches in Thailand and Malaysia in a $10.6bn (£8.5bn) deal. In recent years, the group has also sold supermarkets in the US, Turkey and South Korea.

We have seen significant progress in our business in central Europe but continue to see market challenges in Poland,” said the group’s boss, Dave Lewis.

“Today’s announcement allows us to focus in the region on our business in Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, where we have stronger market positions with good growth prospects and achieve margins, cashflows and returns which are accretive to the group.”

The decision comes as Lewis plans to step down later this year after five years at the helm, seeing the supermarket through a financial crisis and accounting scandal. 

“My decision to step down is a personal one,” said Lewis, when announcing his departure last year. “It is all-consuming. The business never sleeps. It is 365 days, 24/7. I want to take some proper time out with my family and recharge my batteries. You pass this way only once.”

Shares in the group rose 1.2% on Thursday morning.