Its founder Jack Cohen created Tesco in 1919. Jack Cohen had a stall at a market in the East part of London where he sold excess groceries. It was not until 1924 that the Tesco label or brand first appeared. It was when Cohen bought a tea shipment from supplier T.E. Stockwell. He created new labels for the teas, using the suppliers first three letters combined with the first two letters of his last name, TES and CO.
In 1929, Tesco’s first store was completed and opened. This store was located in Egdware, Middlesex. In 1956, Tesco’s self-service store opened in the area of St. Albans. Its first supermarket opened in the same year and was located in Maldon. The 1950s and 1960s was a period of growth for Tesco. During those years, the company was able to acquire a number of stores, over 800 of them. Among the stores that Tesco acquired include Williamsons (70 stores), HarrowStores (200 stores), Irwin Stores (212 stores) and Charles Philips (97 stores).
In 1987, Tesco was able to acquire 40 supermarkets from Hillards, a supermarket chain inNorthern England. In 1994, it again acquired another supermarket chain, this time William Low. In 1995, Tesco introduced its loyalty card known as ‘Clubcard.’
In 1997, Tesco acquired Associated British Foods’ retail department. This acquisition consisted of the Stewarts, Crazy Prices and Quinnsworth chain of stores. This allowed the company to expand its operations in Ireland.
In 2001, Tesco started its business of Internet grocery retail in the United States, when it was able to own 35% of GroceryWorks. In 2002, Tesco again made several store buyouts when it bought 13 of Poland’s HIT supermarkets. In the succeeding years, the company continued expanding its worldwide operations by acquiring several more companies in different parts of the world. In 2006, Tesco was recognized as the sole food retailer to profit from online shopping.
From originally focusing only on food and beverages, Tesco has expanded into a diverse range of operations. Currently, the company is engaged in clothing, financial services, home, car and Internet services, in addition to its groceries operation.
Currently, Tesco has more or less 5,380 stores in the U.K. and in other parts of the world. Worldwide, Tesco is the third biggest retailer and the second largest in terms of profits.
Ownership Type: Public Limited Company
Employees: 472,000 (as of 2010 )
Geography: China, France, Ireland, Malaysia, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, USA, Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Japan, Pakistan, Slovakia, Taiwan, U.K.
Demography: retail products consumers
Tesco, Finest, Value