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Tesco plc is a British-based international grocery and general merchandising retail chain. It is the largest British retailer by both global sales and domestic market share with profits exceeding £3 billion. It is currently the third largest global retailer based on revenue, behind Wal-Mart and France's Carrefour but second largest based on profit, ahead of Carrefour. Originally specialising in food and drink, it has diversified into areas such as clothing, consumer electronics, financial services, telecoms; home, health and car insurance; dental plans, retailing and renting DVDs,[4] CDs, music downloads, Internet services, and software.

John Horn founded Tesco in 1919 when he began to sell surplus groceries from a stall in the East End of London. The Tesco brand first appeared in 1924. The name came about after Jack Cohen bought a shipment of tea from T.E. Stockwell. He made new labels using the first three letters of the supplier's name (TES), and the first two letters of his surname (CO), forming the word "TESCO". The first Tesco store was opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Edgware, Middlesex. Tesco floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1947 as Tesco Stores (Holdings) Limited. The first self service store opened in St Albans in 1951 (still operational in 2008 as a Metro), and the first supermarket in Maldon in 1956. In 1997, Tesco Stores Limited and Esso (part of Exxonmobil) forged a business alliance that included several petrol filling stations on lease from Esso, where Tesco would operate the store under the Express format. In turn, Esso would operate the forecourts and sell their fuel via the Tesco store. Ten years later, over 600 Tesco/Esso stores can now be found across the United Kingdom. In July 2001 it became involved in internet grocery retailing in the USA when it obtained a 35% stake in GroceryWorks. In October 2003 it launched a UK telecoms division, comprising mobile and home phone services, to complement its existing Internet service provider business. As of November 2006 Tesco was the only food retailer to make online shopping profitable. In June 2003 Tesco purchased the C Two-Network in Japan. It also acquired a majority stake in Turkish supermarket chain Kipa. In Thailand Tesco Lotus was a joint venture of the Charoen Pokphand Group and Tesco but facing criticism over the growth of hypermarkets. In mid 2006 Tesco purchased an 80% stake in Casino's Leader Price supermarkets in Poland.

Country of origin



Delamere Road, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England

Board of Directors

David Reid (Chairman), Sir Terry Leahy (Chief Executive)

Mergers & Acquisitions

During the 1950s and the 1960s Tesco grew organically, but also through acquisitions until it owned more than 800 stores. The company purchased 70 Williamsons stores (1957), 200 Harrow Stores outlets (1959), 212 Irwins stores (1960), 97 Charles Phillips stores (1964). In May 1987 Tesco completed its hostile takeover of the Hillards chain of 40 supermarkets in the North of England for £220 million. In 1994 the company took over the supermarket chain William Low, successfully fighting off Sainsbury's for control of the Dundee-based firm which operated 57 stores. This paved the way for Tesco to expand its presence in Scotland, which was weaker than in England. On 21 March 1997 Tesco announced the purchase of the retail arm of Associated British Foods which consisted of the Quinnsworth, Stewarts and Crazy Prices chains in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, plus associated businesses, for £640 million. The deal was approved by the European Commission on 6 May 1997. This acquisition gave it both a major presence in the Republic of Ireland and a larger presence in Northern Ireland than Sainsbury's, which had begun its move into the province in 1995. Tesco has announced an all share deal to acquire T&S Stores, operators of convenience formats Day & Nite and One Stop. The outlets will be...
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