Blog: Let’s be thankful for Tesco

Catherine Sleep | 20 September 2005

Already I can see tomorrow’s UK newspapers. There will be calls for an investigation into Tesco’s dominance. There will be articles about how Tesco is driving all sorts of other people out of business, destroying communities, civilisation as we know it and so on.

But there’s no secret to it. Tesco has succeeded by thinking faster than its competitors, acting faster than its competitors and by giving its customers what they want.

Tesco's critics include the world’s biggest retailer, which apparently thought it was going to walk into the UK and have market dominance just because it wanted it. 

They include the small towns which charge exorbitant rates for parking, after they’ve made you drive round a completely pointless one way system for hours to get there.

There are the middle class people who want to see the poor picturesquely traipsing from shop to shop with little trollies. They like sneering at Tesco, even when they're shopping there.

Tesco (and Asda and Sainsbury and Waitrose, to list the other major supermarkets within striking distance of where I live, for that matter) serve me well. If somebody wants to criticise something, how about criticising my local council, which gives me lousy service in every department? How about criticising the train operator which is my only choice for getting to London, which is profound in its indifference to its customers, or to any need to provide the service for which they have paid?
Tesco is a national asset. Competition in UK retailing is also going to be tough. Our lack of space and the planning laws it obliges us to have will make it so. But telling off Tesco for being successful just risks losing a worthwhile success.

Chris Lyddon

acting news editor,

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