The beleaguered supermarket Tesco has said it will close 43 unprofitable stores across the UK – more than half of which will be local convenience shops, known as Tesco Express.

The firm is also shelving plans to open a further 49 new “very large” stores.

Additionally, Tesco is closing its staff pension scheme, will make cuts of £250m, and reduce overheads by 30%.

tesco stores

Shares in Tesco rose by more than 13% on Thursday, as investors welcomed the company’s announcements.

It comes after two years of troubles at Tesco, which has suffered falling sales and profit warnings.

Last year, the company was embroiled in an accounting scandal, and saw the departure of some senior executives.

However the retail giant, which has more than 3,300 stores in the UK, had a better Christmas than expected.

Sales over the holiday period were down just 0.3% on the year before, and up 0.1% if fuel sales are included.

Overall, comparable sales for the three months to the beginning of January were down by 2.9%.

In the previous three months, sales had dropped by 5.4%.

Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, said the firm was “facing the reality of the situation” and was “seeing the benefits of listening to our customers”.

Tesco also confirmed that two of its businesses – Tesco Broadband and online entertainment service Blinkbox movies, will be sold to TalkTalk.

It also announced that Matt Davies, the boss of Halfords Group, will take charge of Tesco’s operations in the UK and Republic of Ireland from June, and that Trevor Masters will become international chief executive. Halford’s shares dropped on the news that it was to lose its boss to Tesco.