Tesco CEO Philip Clarke has said the UK retailer will focus more on products and on service to revitalise the company’s poor underlying domestic sales.
Clarke admitted the “shopping trip” at Tesco needed to improve to revive the retailer’s like-for-like sales in the UK, which fell again in the run-up to Christmas.
Tesco’s shares tumbled yesterday (12 January) after it said its latest fall in UK sales would lead annual profits to be at the “lower end” of expectations and that plans to invest in its domestic business would weigh on annual profits in its next financial year.
The retailer’s stock fell by more than 15% after its announcement but Clarke brushed off claims the company was in crisis. The Tesco chief said the retailer’s decision to “accelerate the rate of improvement” in its UK operations was necessary to ensure the it was a “leader for customers and for shareholders”.
“I feel like I’m in control. I feel like I have taken a decision that needed to be taken to get the UK business doing more of the right things for customers,” Clarke said. “I feel very determined. This isn’t going to kill us. This is going to make us stronger.
“It’s hard to take on the day but it’s absolutely the right thing. There’s been a lot of soul-searching this week about whether we go as far as we’ve gone. The truth is, we had to. We’re not going to be an also-ran, we’re going to be a leader. A leader for customers and then we will be a leader for shareholders.”
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