Here comes another innovation from Philip Clarke, under-fire Tesco chief executive: a “food-to-go store” to give the likes of Pret a Manger a run for their money. It sounds interesting; it may even be a modest winner in time. But it is also another distraction from investors’ chief worries: how does Clarke intend to halt the march of the discounters in the UK, and do Tesco’s troubles stem from the price of its groceries and confusing promotions?
Tesco and the City live in parallel universes at present: they talk about different subjects. Clarke likes to champion Tesco’s “family of brands”, which includes Giraffe restaurants, Hudl tablets and Blinkbox online entertainment, all of which he regards as vital to “winning in the new era of retail”.
It is the confusion marketing and the high pricing that did it for me. Consumers don’t like to feel they are being ‘gamed.’ I’ve studied finance at Cambridge but I find it too much bloody hard work unravelling the designed to mislead prices, packaging, fake brands and promotions.
I knew some highly paid MBAs who are employed by Tesco to confuse shoppers with prices and promotions to maximise profit. Wouldn’t they be better off focusing on customer satisfaction? Much easier and quicker just to go to Waitrose and Aldi and buy good value food without the confusing sea of yellow. Yes, the sometimes rude staff and filthy stores don’t help.
I can’t believe Tesco has a Board with only one executive on it. I know it is true but it is incredible. I don’t know how on earth the Board could hold a sensible discussion in those circumstances. All their information must come via papers or via Clarke. Intermediation is a killer in decision making. Bizarre.