Tesco in Poland

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1. Discuss Tesco’s priorities in the development of their Polish business. 2. To what extent is Tesco’s food retailing expertise transferable to Poland?

The traditional retail sector in Poland started to modernize intensely in the later years of the twentieth century. After the collapse of communism entrepreneurship and privatizing in retailing was highly supported and approved by the government as this was economically important to Poland. Using this opportunity, Western European countries started to own local stores thus penetrating the Polish market and as a result, by 2003 the estimated number of food sales has reached to 40-50%. “Seven out of the top ten European retailers are now in Poland, and Tesco is the sole British representative.”

When the Western European companies began to revolutionize Polish market, Tesco’s implemented similar strategy in Poland as it did initially in Eastern Europe in 1993. Tesco bought a chain of small supermarkets called Slavia. They did some significant improvements (visual appeal, operational standards, refurbishment, and improved range of goods) by implementing corporate identity program. The aim was to penetrate the Polish market gradually, but with great success. Tesco has worked with the management of Slavia supermarkets to learn about Polish market in whole as well as to understand customers’ behavior, their buying habits and preferences and perception of foreign brands. After a couple of years of keen observations one the Tesco’s main priorities in the development of their Polish business was to reach the right target audience in order to gain a sustainable competitive advantage in the retail sector. Another priority was to provide middle managers and supervisors with thorough training and improve their managerial and decision-making skills as it was crucial in developing and operating retail business successfully. One of the main concerns was to acknowledge and understand cultural differences and take...
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