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Sunday, 15 April 2012


Grocery Bag X Image

This is a big week for Tesco and I am becoming cross-eyed reading the various analyses of it's problems and suggestions for recovery.  We await with interest CEO Philip Clarke's address to the City but whatever he says I hope he does not over-promise, especially in terms of timescale and superficial quick fixes like changing signs and uniforms.   They might freshen up the look of stores but they do not guarantee any difference in customer numbers or willingness to spend more.  But I do think (wink) that Tesco should grab the opportunity to break away from the recent problematic past and change its name to TesGo, to illustrate that it has the horsepower and drive to get itself back up to pole position on the supermarket grid.
Shopping Cart Clip Art

I speak as a once frequent and now very infrequent Tesco customer.  Yes it has the offers and the choice and the one-stop-shop stuff that all the rest have but the two things that have turned me off continuing as a regular shopper - 1) Surly staff on counters and, especially, checkouts; 2) Queuing at checkouts.  Now the surly staff thing is to do with poor recruitment, poor management, maybe discontentment with pay, morale and all the things we know about. It can be managed and improved over a period of time, but it can be improved.  Checkout cover can be fixed almost immediately.  If Philip Clarke stood up and addressed UK customers and said emphatically that he would guarantee slick, quick, efficient, friendly checkout service without condition, all day, every day, then that might just swing a load of us defectors back his way.  It would also be a unique selling point over his rivals. Crack the checkout problems first because no one in UK retailing has done it yet.  It is no good pontificating about putting the love back into stores and all that hippy talk, it has to be seen constantly and consistently by every customer on every shopping trip to be believed and trusted.  I don't want Tesco's love, I just want great service especially when I am ready to leave the store.  Will Mr Clarke make such a guarantee? I doubt it very much. I hope he doesn't go all gooey in his language, all 'ever so 'umble and hugs and kisses and neglect practical shopping improvements.  No one really gives tuppence for that stuff really.

It is Tesco and it is important in retailing, and he is a very important man.  The industry should wish him well.  So roll on his presentation to the City, and the potential name change for the company - Tesready, Testeady, Tesgo!

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