Blog: Leonie BarrieTesco’s trolley dash

Leonie Barrie | 22 April 2004

With jeans priced from just £4, it’s not surprising that Tesco Plc is sweeping up consumers around the world. According to figures released this week, second-half profit is up 17 per cent, pushing full-year profit to £1.71 billion – or £63,900 every minute – making this the UK’s biggest supermarket operator and the world’s third largest behind Wal-Mart and Carrefour. Specifically, the company’s clothing sales are rising faster than any other retailer in the UK, giving it a 14 per cent share of the UK market. And this year it plans to expand floor space for clothes by 10 per cent in its biggest stores – the equivalent of 12 Next stores.

Although Tesco’s ability to be all things to all people, meeting the demands of customers searching for value for money as well as those prepared to pay a little extra for top quality, it does of course have its detractors. Among these are rivals including Wal-Mart’s Asda chain, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer – all of whom are under pressure to compete in the ongoing price war. Conceding that slashing its prices helped to drive clothing sales last year, Tesco is refusing to rule out further cuts which will put long-term pressure on other retailers to conform. A smart move if analysts’ forecasts of an spending slowdown come true. Tesco might not sell cutting-edge fashion, but it’s one of the sharpest retailers around.


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