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Store joy as Tesco sales into the lead.

Byline: COLIN CALDER

TESCO has officially become Scotland's top supermarket operator - beating arch rival Safeway in the sales charts.

Tesco claimed it had narrowly overtaken Safeway for the first time on sales in November.

Now new industry figures for 2001 - to be published this morning - show Tesco took most at the tills during the last 12 months. As a result Safeway has lost the No1 position it held for the last decade.

The new league table will spark a fresh round of cut-throat trolley wars in Scotland as the rivals battle for a bigger share of the pounds 9billion a year grocery market.

Official figures show Tesco took a 20.7 per cent market share during 2001 - nearly one per cent ahead of Safeway which has slipped back to 19.8 per cent. Asda is lagging behind on 17.2 per cent.

Tesco pledged to "fight hard" to hold on to its lead.

Stores director Paul Ritchie said: "The increased commitment to our Scottish shoppers in our 74 stores over the past months has clearly paid off."

But Safeway - currently in the middle of a pounds 100million expansion of their 114-strong Scottish store network - promised to give Tesco "a huge fight".

And a spokeswoman said: "Scotland is a vitally important market for us, accounting for a fifth of all sales across the UK, worth pounds 1.8 billion a year.

"We are not going to make it easy for our rivals."

The Scottish Grocery Federation said shoppers should benefit from price cuts in the store wars.

A spokesman said: "Supermarkets are huge money making machines and the pressure to cut prices to win market share can only intensify."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 21, 2002
Words:278
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