Strategic Analysis Tesco

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(a) Undertake a strategic analysis of an organization of your choice and review its current and recent past strategy. Tesco was founded in 1924 by John Edward Cohen in the East End of London. The name ‘Tesco', was first used on tea, and was derived from the initials of Cohen's tea supplier, T E Stockwell, combined with the first two letters of Cohen. Tesco Stores Limited was incorporated in 1932. In 1935, Jack Cohen visited the USA and was impressed by the supermarkets' self-service system which enabled more people to be served faster, with lower labour costs. In 1947, the Tesco branch in St Albans, a small shop by 21st century standards (200 square metres) was the first Tesco to be converted to self service, although it didn't immediately catch the public's imagination. In the early 1960's, Cohen lobbied Parliament to have the Retail Price Maintenance (RPM) act abolished, efforts supported by Edward Heath. The RPM allowed manufacturers and suppliers to set the price of goods thus preventing large retailers, who could buy in bulk and had greater buying power, from benefiting from economies of scale and undercutting the prices of smaller shops. To get 'around' this, Tesco offered another incentive to get customers through the doors. These were collected by customers when they spent money in the store, and were then traded for goods in a catalogue. An effective discount. In 1964, Parliament passed the Resale Prices Act, curtailing RPM, which by 1979 remained in force only on books and pharmaceutical goods. Until the 1970's, Tesco operated on the 'pile it high, sell it cheap' formula Cohen had imported from the USA. However, the market was changing, leaving the company with slim margins and a serious image problem. Under the leadership of Ian MacLaurin, who succeeded Jack Cohen in 1973, Tesco decided to try something dramatic and different: to become an ‘aspirational mass retailer'. It discontinued the use of Green Shield trading stamps and launched 'Operation Checkout' which cut prices across the board and started a price war with major rivals Sainsbury's. Next, Tesco decided to modernise it, closing 500 unprofitable stores, and extensively upgrading and enlarging others. At this time, Tesco prioritised the development of large out-of-town stores where parking was convenient, the selection of goods broad, and where a higher volume of business could be generated at increased margins while reducing overheads. In 1974, in a deal with Esso, Tesco began to open petrol stations on the grounds of its superstores. The idea was successful and by 1991 Tesco was the country's largest independent petrol retailer: it now accounts for 12.5% of all petrol sold in the UK. Other innovations throughout the 1980s included introducing own-label product lines; computerising and centralising distribution systems and developing shopping centres outside of the major cities. In 1983, Tesco Stores PLC renamed itself simply Tesco PLC. In 1993, when Tesco introduced 'Value' lines, a cut-price range of own-label goods, competitors scoffed and the share price sank. But Tesco had gauged the popular mood: after years of recession, shoppers were looking for bargains, and sales soared. A year later, Tesco started 'One in Front' opening a new till whenever a checkout line exceeded two trolleys. It cost millions in extra staff, but customers loved it. In 1995 Tesco became the first supermarket to introduce a company loyalty card, an idea developed by the then Deputy Managing Director, Terry Leahy. At first the other supermarkets were sceptical, but the concept caught the public imagination leaving the others racing to catch up. Market share and importance

In 1995 Tesco overtook Sainsbury's as the UK's largest supermarket. In 2001 Tesco occupied 15.6% of the UK grocery retail market and was the market leader by 6%. Tesco's enormous share is still growing: by September 2004, it had increased to a massive 28%, around 12% more than its nearest market...
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