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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 January, 2005, 16:26 GMT
Tesco 'to open non-food outlet'
Checkout tills at Tesco supermarket
Tesco is selling more non-food items
Tesco, the UK's leading supermarket chain, is set to open its first non-food store, a report has said.

According to The Sunday Times, the venture will test the water for the viability of general stores selling clothing, music and electrical goods.

Tesco said it had been encouraged by the success of its Extra stores which sell a larger range of non-food items.

It did not give any details of what the store would be called or where it would be located.

The venture will alert retailers such as Woolworth's, Dixons and Boots which have lost sales to supermarkets.

Early days

Tesco and other supermarket chains such as Asda have steadily boosted their share of non-food items in recent years at the expense of specialist outlets.

Tesco said it planned to open a non-food store, on a trial basis, later this year. The Sunday Times said out-of-town retail parks were being considered.

Shoppers expect us to try new ideas
Tesco spokesperson

It said it would assess its success and popularity with customers before deciding whether to develop the concept further.

"It is early days but we will trial a non-food store at some point this year," a Tesco spokesperson said.

"Our Extra stores are very popular with customers, but shoppers expect us to try out new ideas."

Tesco has reinforced its leadership of the grocery sector in recent months, increasing its share of total consumer spending to 29%.

Growth engine

Non-food sales have helped fuel the company's growth and were worth about 7bn to Tesco last year.

The company has a 6% share of sales of chart music, books and health & beauty products and has developed its own-label clothing ranges.

Richard Hyman, chairman of retail consultancy Verdict Research, told The Sunday Times he believed the venture would be a success.

"The key to the company's success has been the development of its non-food products," he said.

"This move will only accelerate the chain's growth."

Besides the trial store, Tesco said it also planned to open more Extra outlets and enhance non-food ranges in other stores.

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