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Tesco Makes Bid for British C-Store Operator

LONDON - UK supermarket chain Tesco plc hopes to broaden its convenience store operations in Britain with a bid of 530.3 million GBP ($825.9 million) for T&S Stores, a British convenience store operator.

Tesco announced it will pay for the 862-store chain with stock worth 377.3 million GBP and 153 million GBP in assumed debt, according to published reports.

Tesco said it would convert about 450 of the stores to Tesco Express - small stores in urban locations that serve customers dropping in for a few items. It expects T&S to boost earnings in the first full year.

A UK analyst noted that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which trades in the U.K. through Asda, or J Sainsbury plc may just emerge with a counterbid.

T&S had sales of 933 million GBP and operating profit of 46 million GBP in 2001. Its main stores are One Stop and Day & Nite. It also operates the newsagent chain Dillons and the Supercigs tobacco stores. Tesco plans to sell the latter two chains, according to published reports.

Tesco said that its share of the narrower U.K. convenience store market will rise to about 5 percent after the deal.
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