Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Tesco sales drop is about more than price

I'm just reading about Tesco's figures and the fact that their sales dropped by 3.1% over the last quarter - the biggest drop since records began in 1984.

My wife and I were in Tesco yesterday and the problems became more obvious to me as we sat in the café overlooking the store.

The problem is that they get nothing right

Now this isn't an anti-Tesco rant. It's true. Look at the facts-
  • They don't do quality as well as Waitrose
  • They don't advertise as well as M&S
  • They don't do cheap as well as Aldi
  • They don't do mobiles as well as Carphone Warehouse
  • They don't do cafés as well as Costa
  • They don't do toys as well as Smyths
  • They don't do tech as well as, well anyone really

This adds up to a poor showing overall. The growth of Tesco has come from the "all under one roof" philosophy but this has come at a price to consumers. The reality of the philosophy is "all in one place, but only 60% as good as if you bought it elsewhere."  The idea of training staff up to be as good as their competitors in each field wpuld take a huge investment. The model of the department store, with market leaders delivering each sector, stands up better than Tesco's current plan.

It is my belief that consumers in the UK tolerate standards that would be unacceptable elsewhere in the World.  For example, I conduct mystery shopping programmes for some major restaurant chains and the question regarding food quality is "was the food rancid or spoiled in flavour?"  Now is this a standard we find acceptable?  In most European countries poor restaurants close because people won't pay good money for something below par.

It's the same with Tesco - customers are starting to find them out. Why pay higher prices for less-informed service on technology? Why buy their Finest range when, for a comparable price, you can buy M&S?

There is a bottom ground for discounters and there are already a few in the market. Why are Morrisons rushing for the lowest price ground? Why are analysts urging Tesco to join them?

A company that ploughed some of their vast profits back into a living wage for their staff, more staff available for customers and a higher standard of service would win every time.

Not everything can be bought on the High Street - MP3 version of The Hunting Party by Linkin Park on pre-order

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