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A history of Tesco: The rise of Britain's biggest supermarket

Tesco started life in 1919 when Jack Cohen started selling surplus groceries from a stall in the East End of London. Mr Cohen made a profit of £1 from sales of £4 on his first day.

The Tesco brand first appeared five years later in 1924 when he bought a shipment of tea from a Mr T. E Stockwell. The initials and letters were combined to form Tes-co and in 1929 Mr Cohen opened the flagship Tesco store in Burnt Oak, North London.

The brand continued its rise in the 1930s when Mr Cohen built a headquarters and warehouse in North London, and in 1932 Tesco became a private limited company. In 1947 Tesco Stores (Holdings) Ltd floated on the stock exchange with a share price of 25p.

Expand and conquer

Tesco showed its expansionary zeal early on by buying up rival shops. In the 1950s the retailer bought 70 Williams stores and 200 Harrow stores, followed by 97 Charles Philips stores and the Victor Value chain in the early 1960s.

During the 60s supermarkets started to expand rapidly by selling more products in ever larger stores.

In 1961 Tesco Leicester entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest store in Europe and in 1968 Tesco opened its first 'superstore' in Crawley, West Sussex.

Supermarkets revolutionised the way people shopped and by the 1970s Tesco was building a national store network to cover the whole of the UK, which it continues to expand to this day, while also diversifying into other products.

In 1974 Tesco opened its first petrol stations and would become the UK's largest independent petrol retailer. By 1979 total sales topped £1bn, and by 1982 sales had doubled to more than £2bn.

In 1987 Tesco successfully completed a hostile takeover of supermarket rival Hillards for £220m.

The battle for top spot

In the 1990s Tesco continued to tighten its grip on the UK with more store openings and an aggressive marketing campaign in an attempt to overtake Sainsbury's as the UK's leading grocer.

In 1992, the company launched is slogan 'every little helps', followed by the Tesco Value range in 1993. This was followed by the launch of the Tesco Clubcard scheme in 1995, helping Tesco to overtake rival Sainsbury's as the UK's largest food retailer.

1996 saw the retailer introduce its first 24-hour store while it also expanded overseas opening shops in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. In 1997 Tesco appointed Sir Terry Leahy as chief executive.

Tesco.com was launched in 2000 and the supermarket continued to expand its range of products, which now includes clothes, electricals and personal finance products. In 2004 Tesco entered the broadband market.

In 2006, the retailer announced ambitious plans to open stores in the US under the name 'Fresh and Easy' and funded by existing resources. Tesco now operates in 13 countries.

Today it reported that group sales were £51.8bn in the year to February 23rd 2008. Pre-tax profit rose to £2.8bn.

In 2008 the retail giant took its conquest of the UK one step further by buying up some rival Somerfield stores on remote islands in Scotland, giving Tesco a presence in every single postcode area in the country. As it stands there is only one postcode in the UK - in Harrogate in North Yorkshire - which does not have a Tesco.

In 2009 Tesco Bank was launched as a joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland.

In 2010 the supermarket opens its first zero-carbon supermarket in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire

A supermarket in decline

1.2013 saw Tesco report its first drop in profits for 20 years. The decline would continue.

2.2014 has been a tumultuous one for Britain's biggest supermarket:

3.Tesco reports its worst performance for 20 years on June 4th, with a 3.7pc decline in like-for like sales in the first quarter.

4.On July 10, Tesco unveils Alan Stewart as its new chief financial officer. Mr Stewart is to join from Marks & Spencer.

5.Philip Clarke steps down as chief executive after Tesco warns on profits. Dave Lewis named as his successor.

6.Tesco issues a second profit warning in August and slashes its dividend on August 29 and reveals Mr Lewis will take up his role a month earlier than planned.

7.Tesco shocks the market on September 22 with an admission that it has overstated its half-year profit forecast by £250m. Tesco launches investigation and suspends UK chief executive Chris Bush, UK finance director Carl Rogberg, UK food commercial director John Scouler, and food sourcing director Matt Simister.

8.Veteran investor Warren Buffett calls Tesco investment a 'huge mistake' and analysts question whether Tesco's dominance of the market has come to an end.

9.2018 – Tesco launches Jack’s supermarket chain to compete directly with ALDI and LIDL

Your Task

Consider the Tesco history narrative about and with your own research (Hint:  Use EBSCO, ProQuest, Mintel, Lexis library (for newspapers) do the following:

1.Provide a brief explanation why Tesco UK should conduct an analysis of the UK marketing environment.

2.Undertake an analysis of the Marketing Environment using PRESTCOM and SWOT and apply this to Tesco- industry sources (market intelligence reports/business press).

3.Match the opportunities that play to strengths and the threats that play to weaknesses.

MARK5000 Marketing Theory and Practice

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