Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Tesco CEO: Launch Of Jack's 'Nothing To Do With Brexit'

Dave Lewis Dave Lewis
Orlando Vargas | 03 October, 2018, 10:47

Products grown or manufactured in the United Kingdom are set to make up 80 per cent of all items sold, the firm said, while 1,800 of the 2,600 brands will be under Jack's own label.

Tesco said the first two stores would open to the public on Thursday at Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, and at Immingham, Lincolnshire, both in eastern England.

You've got to hand it to Dave Lewis - the decision to launch a new chain of budget stores is certainly ballsy.

Jack's is named after Jack Cohen, who in 1919 founded the business that became Tesco, and is a significant move by Lewis, who has rebuilt Tesco after a 2014 accounting scandal capped a dramatic downturn in trading.

Tesco confirmed predictions that the new brand will operate a low-priced business model, with stores offering a much smaller range of products than the parent brand (2,600 in Jack's compared to 35,000 in a similar sized Tesco store) and will be kitted out with very basic fixtures and fittings. "If you ask me personally I think they can co-exist, but we're gonna wait and see", he said.

British provenance will be a key point of difference for Jack's, with eight out of 10 products grown, reared or made in Britain. Jack's will also be based around a UK-based own-brand approach.

Aldi and Lidl have steadily grown market share in Britain since the 2008 financial crisis, chipping away at Tesco and its three biggest rivals Sainsbury's (SBRY.L), Asda (WMT.N) and Morrisons (MRW.L).

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However, its dominance is threatened by Aldi and Lidl, which combined enjoy a 13.1 per cent share of the grocery market.

Jack's stores will utilise a mix of new sites and converted Tesco stores.

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: "Jack Cohen championed value for customers and changed the face of British shopping".

He said: "Jack's will need to work hard to dent the success of Aldi and Lidl, and will also need to prove its value against the wider Tesco offering including its existing chain of One Stop convenience stores".

In a statement the company simply said it would be "sharing some exciting news" after earlier advertisements for staff for a "new store format" in Chatteris. They stock much less variety, which keeps operations leaner, and they specialise in "pile 'em high" seasonal offers, with stock that is for sale until it's gone.

Jack's is not the first attempt by Britain's mainstream grocers to crack the discounter market.

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