Tesco entered South Korea in 1999. It had 458 stores by 2012, a sharp rise from 62 at the end of the 2005/6 financial year. Part of Tesco's store expansion in South Korea has come about as a result of its acquisition of Carrefour stores in South Korea after Carrefour announced its withdrawal in 2006. In 2008 it bought 36 stores from the E Land Group. At present, Tesco's average floorspace is 27,000 sq ft per store, less than its previous average due to the opening of more Express stores, but still double the UK.
In June 2011, Tesco launched a virtual shop, specifically targeting commuters. However, Tesco was affected by changes in regulation in South Korea, requiring hypermarkets to close two days a month in order to protect smaller shops. Supermarkets are also facing further restrictions.
The company’s two biggest international businesses are in South Korea and Thailand, where Tesco hypermarkets are often situated within shopping centres. In the UK, Tesco is now looking to develop its supermarkets into such retail destinations to drive footfall. Please see an article in the Telegraph, 31st March 2013.