TESCO bosses have pleaded for more time to turn the business around after criticism from unhappy shareholders.

Chairman Sir Richard Broadbent said management should be allowed to see through its revival plans in a period which has seen the supermarket lose market share to German discount retailers Aldi and Lidl.

Sir Richard said that to "hunker down" and run the firm defensively as a price-cutting business was the wrong strategy.

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The company said its policy of revamping about 650 large stores, developing its online presence allied with cutting prices was the right way forward.

Sir Richard told the meeting at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London: "You, and we, want to see better performance.

"We believe the considered steps we are taking will deliver better performance in a sustainable fashion for the long-term future of the business."

Earlier this month, Tesco saw its market share decline to 29 per cent from 30.5 per cent, while its sales slipped 3.1 per cent from a year ago, according to the latest till-roll figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

Over the last year, investors have watched their shares lose 18 per cent of their value.

Under-pressure chief executive Phil Clarke said while its more than 1,600 convenience stores and its online business were doing well, 80 per cent of its UK sales came from its larger stores which needed to be upgraded.

Mr Clarke said the firm has revamped 300 large stores this year, but there were still another 350 to go.

He plans to improve these stores, including by adding bakeries, Harris + Hoole coffee shops and the restaurant chain Giraffe.