Tesco’s US Fresh & Easy banner has insisted that a report claiming the loss-making division should increase transparency of its strategy is “union motivated”.
The report by Change to Win Investment Group (CtW), which encompassed a survey of around 80% of the group’s stores, urged Tesco to set up a committee of non-executive directors to review its strategy for Fresh & Easy, according to Reuters.
It is calling for the committee to issue a report “that discloses the metrics and timeframe” the Tesco board will use to evaluate the division’s future performance, the publication noted.
However, a spokesperson for Tesco said the proposal is “union-motivated” and that CtW Investment isn’t a shareholder.
“Fresh & Easy continues to grow and innovate and is showing positive sales momentum. We are confident the business is moving in the right direction.
“This proposal is union motivated and follows several years of union opposition in the US. CtW is not a shareholder, and does not speak for shareholders.”
Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke has faced calls from some analysts and investors to quit the US, but the CEO has to date rejected calls to pull the plug on Fresh & Easy.
Fresh & Easy made a trading loss of GBP153m (US$245m) in the year to the end of February, a 17.7% improvement on a year earlier. Sales climbed 27.1% to GBP638m.
Last week, Tesco said the unit had “maintained a positive sales momentum” during the first quarter, despite a “moderation” in like-for-like growth. Underlying sales growth slowed to 3.6% in its first quarter from 12.3% in the fourth quarter.