Is this the end for Tesco? Boss admits worst decline in four decades

Is this the end for Tesco?
A picture shows the sign outside a Tesco store in Liverpool, north west England on April 16, 2014. Supermarket giant Tesco announced a second drop in annual profits in a row on April 16, leaving Britain’s biggest retailer hoping that recent expansion into India and China can offset weakness in Europe. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Tesco’s chief executive yesterday admitted the company was going through the worst decline he has seen in four decades.

Philip Clarke, who started out stacking shelves at the supermarket 40 years ago, was speaking after three successive quarters of falling sales – the latest by 3.7 per cent.

‘There hasn’t been a quarter of like-for-like sales like this before that I can remember but I’ve never seen a period of such intense transformation for the industry,’ he said.

Mr Clarke said there had been a shift in spending habits from the ‘one-stop shop’ to convenience stores and the internet.

A fall in wages was also squeezing households and, despite recent signs of optimism, he said ‘for the majority of customers it is not getting into their pockets’.

It appeared to confirm supermarket share data earlier this week that suggested Tesco could be losing up to 1million customer visits a week.

But Mr Clarke claimed the chain was now ‘more competitive than we have been for many years’. Tesco has cut delivery charges, made click-and-collect free and is refurbishing 650 stores to make them more attractive to customers.

Its Clubcard Fuel Save offer has also been extended across the country as it focuses on schemes to keep customers true to the brand.

‘Loyalty is the prize worth having and we are putting our effort behind that,’ added Mr Clarke. All supermarkets are facing a squeeze from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

4 June 2014 | 10:28 pm – Source:

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