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The BBC's Greg Wood
"Today Tesco announced plans to recruit another 20,000"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 11 April, 2000, 06:44 GMT 07:44 UK
Net move as Tesco booms
Tesco store
UK sales rose by 7.4%
Tesco sales have burst through the 20bn mark for the first time.

The UK's largest supermarket group recorded sales of more than 18bn in its home market, with a further 2bn abroad.

Tesco also said it was to separate off its internet operations into a fully owned subsidiary - a move seen as a prelude to it floating.

Its pre-tax profits for the year rose 8.4% to 955m.

UK sales grew 7.4% during the year to 26 February to 18.3bn, with growth of 4.2% from existing stores.

Tesco, one of the large supermarkets being probed by the competition authorities, also said it was creating a total of 20,000 jobs worldwide this year, including 8,000 in the UK.

A growing sector

Tesco's internet operation has an annualised turnover of 125m and more than 400,000 users.

To help the online business develop separately from existing operations it will create a new unit called in which it will invest 35m this year, it said.

It has been reported in the past that the internet operation could be valued at up to 4bn, more than a quarter of the parent company's market value.

Tesco launched its internet shopping operation in 1996, and has gradually been expanding.
Internet Tesco shopper
Tesco Direct has 400,000 registered members
More than 100 stores are now online, and by the end of the year, that figure is expected to be 300, covering 90% of the population.

Home shopping is still a small sector, but is expected to grow to a 10% share of the 120bn a year grocery market by 2005.

Tesco deputy chairman David Reid said that it might at some point decide to spin off its home shopping and internet arm, but for the moment it was planning to keep it as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Tesco's rivals are also building up their internet businesses.

Waitrose delivers to customers in their workplace, and is aiming for 60,000 users by the end of the year.

Sainsbury's is now run by Sir Peter Davis, who established the Egg online banking brand while he was at Prudential.

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19 Jan 00 | Business
Tesco expansion creates 7,000 jobs
22 Nov 99 | Business
Online shopping boom
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