Tesco looks to give UK sales a shot in the arm

Tesco looks to give UK sales a shot in the arm

UK retailer Tesco is to create 20,000 new jobs in the country over the next two years.

Tesco said today (5 March) it would make "significant" investments in customer service, open new stores and "refresh" other outlets in a bid to revitalise sales.

The company said the move would see it deliver "new levels of excellence" in customer service as it increases staff hours and training.

At the beginning of the year, Tesco revealed its fourth consecutive decline in underlying sales in its domestic market. Despite a robust international performance, the group said this would mean annual profits to be at the "lower end" of expectations while plans to invest in its domestic business would weigh on annual profits in its next financial year.

Last week, Tesco's struggles in the UK were confirmed when Kantar Worldpanel released data that showed the retailer's market share was at its lowest level for seven years.

The company has looked to reverse its lacklustre UK sales trends through various investments in price and marketing. However, Tesco said the investment announced today was its "first stage" in its attempt to address the structural issues impacting its UK business.  

Tesco will focus on improving the in-store customer experience in categories where rival grocers - such as Sainsbury's and Morrisons - are seen as stronger: fresh produce, fresh meat, bakery and counter services.

Tesco also revealed that it is embarking on a "substantial programme" to refresh "hundreds" of existing stores and open new ones.

Of the 20,000 new recruits, Tesco said it expects to focus on "giving opportunities to young people currently unemployed". As a part of its commitment to developing opportunities for young people, the retailer added that it will also continue to expand its apprenticeship programme to provide 10,000 apprenticeships.

"At the core of this investment is our determination to deliver the best shopping experience for our customers, bar none. We will invest in more staff on the sales floor at busy times, greater expertise and help in the crucial areas of fresh food, and enhanced quality and service across our stores at all times," Richard Brasher, CEO of Tesco's UK operations, said.