After eight years, UK supermarket giant fails to crack world's third-biggest grocery market.

This article titled “Tesco admits defeat and pulls out of Japan” was written by Zoe Wood, for The Guardian on Wednesday 31st August 2011 19.21 UTC

After ploughing more than £250m and eight years into trying to crack one of the toughest retail markets in the world, Tesco has admitted defeat and announced that it is pulling out of Japan.

The retrenchment is a rare setback for the globe-trotting British retailer, which has spent much of the past decade planting its red, white and blue flag in countries ranging from Turkey to Thailand, and follows the promotion of Philip Clarke, the former head of its sprawling international business, to group chief executive. At his maiden results presentation in April, Clarke set the scene for a major shakeup by promising to improve returns from its overseas investments.

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