Tesco has whittled the contractors for the framework down to 17 from the 46 that pitched for the deal. It is understood that the firms include office fit-out contractors and retail specialists. The client will choose a shortlist of 10 to 12 firms.
Tesco plans to complete about 10 refurbishments a year. Insiders say the average value of each upgrade will be £300,000.
The stores will be renamed Tesco Express. Tesco said that many of the 900 stores were too small to be rebranded.