Tesco’s Leahy urges readiness for recovery

UK retailers should be preparing to meet growing consumer demands for greener choices, more fresh and local produce and the desire to “look good and live forever”, as signs of economic recovery emerge, according to Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy.

UK retailers should be preparing to meet growing consumer demands for greener choices, more fresh and local produce and the desire to “look good and live forever”, as signs of economic recovery emerge, according to Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy.

It is vital retailers keep an “eagle eye” on these trends, plus the increasing ageing population and the internet if they are to prosper when the recession recedes, the chief executive told the annual British Retail Consortium (BRC) this morning (Thurs 11th Jan).

Confidence is “slowly seeping back” due to lower interest rates, energy and fuel deflation and lower food prices, says Leahy (pictured), although retailers must remain flexible as “dark clouds” such as unemployment remain.

He added that loyalty should remain the holy grail of successful retailing by constantly adapting to respond to changing consumer needs and desires.

“Companies that prepare for these trends, while delivering for consumers today, will prosper as the economy strengthens. But they will have achieved something else: they will have won customers loyalty.

“Loyalty is a precious, rare commodity, hard to earn but all too easy to lose….you must reward those who remain loyal – and never take their loyalty for granted,” he added.

Tesco recently revealed it was ploughing £150m into relaunching its Clubcard scheme in a bid to bid to arrest its recent slide in market share. Its UK grocery share fell to 30.6% in the 12 week to April 19 from 31.1% a year earlier, according to the latest Taylor Nelson Sofres data as rivals such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons surged ahead.

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