Wednesday 18 April 2012

In defence of Tesco...

Hi Hisbe,

Re your article ("We've got Beef" -, I Love what you are setting out to do - I am an independent retailer in North London, trying hard to encourage hungry North Londoners to eat seasonal, locally produced food - we have been going 2.5 years, progressing promisingly, but business is tough, no doubt.

You deliver a pretty scathing broadside against Tesco, its executives, its shareholders, its cynical non-creation of jobs - but your message is weakened by one group you appear not to have the courage to attack and that is its customers. Only in your final sentence do I see that you mention this final critical Tesco stakeholder , and it seems to be the only sentence in your article that lacks bite, instead exhorting (pretty weakly if i may say so) us to "vote for business how it should be".

Consumer demand is the single biggest factor in whether businesses succeed, and I am heartened that Tesco have announced their first profits drop in over 20 years - and hope that this is due to reduced demand from customers who find propositions like our at farm direct more attractive than that of Tesco. But i still suspect that more customers pass through the doors of our local Tesco Express in a single hour than purchase from my business in an entire week!

I am not disheartened by this - I think i have a promising proposition for customers and am hopeful that I can make it succeed, but this is my entire focus - on attracting customers to my service and away from the supermarkets: I have no interest at all in bashing Tesco, simply in trying to take a slice of their sales, and in order to do that I need to make our proposition as attractive as possible.

I think you are jumping on an easy bandwagon by bashing Tesco & its CEO, whilst ignoring the queues of happy customers that everyday vote with their feet & wallets through their checkouts: they are the stakeholder at Tesco that you need to focus on.

1 comment:

  1. I tend to agree. Rather than critcise and condemn Tesco, who, at least, provide a (limited) range of produce for the poorer sections of hard pressed urban dwellers, if we acknowledge the value of their role we are more likely to get them to change. If another business model seemed more attractive and viable, they would soon buy it out! There are too many middle class people ( who can aford to be green ) taking the moral high ground, without recognising the the complicated lives people in poorer, deprived neighbourhoods have to contend with.