Tesco supply shift more of a three card trick
One month after Tesco announced it was committed to continuing to stock Irish product, reports claim their allocation has been significantly reduced
12 June 2009
Is it clever marketing or market manipulation that has Tesco counting the cash in their border stores? Anecdotally we have heard of turnover increases of the order of 200% in some of the stores along the border where they unveiled “a radical price shift” on 5 May last.
The Tesco press release claimed: “Prices on 12,500 goods at the 11 stores are reduced”. But what are these 12,500 products and has the NCA asked for a list? Or is the NCA once again accepting the Tesco line? Surely, the NCA can ask for a full list of the products and their before and after prices? Would Tesco be willing to hand it over? Well, until the NCA gets its finger out and asks, we won’t know – your move Ann Fitzgerald!
We recently paid a visit to the Tesco Extra store in Drogheda. The store itself seemed quiet enough; still buckets of room in the vast car park. But the shelves were full to groaning point with products, which at first glance looked mostly to be Tesco own brands and new ‘discounter’ type products. On closer inspection the brands are there, they are just not located as prominently as they used to be and with fewer facings. So when Tesco says it is still stocking all the well-known brands, it is, just not as much of them.
However, it was in the fruit and veg department where things became really confusing. There was a banner canopy showing a Wexford onion grower but there were no Irish onions on sale. Sweetheart cabbages, of which there were four crates, claimed that all were Irish, yet two of these crates contained Spanish produce. The Irish potatoes on display were all from Northern Ireland and there were no Irish carrots. The entire department looked like a tri-colour there was that much green, white and gold going on. Consumers could be forgiven for thinking they were at least buying Irish if not local produce.
But it’s not just happening in the Drogheda store. On 27 May last we visited Tesco’s Ballybrack store, in County Dublin. We found that their loose carrots were all from the UK, their Tesco carrots were from Portugal, their organic ones from Spain. Their Tesco Value Market ones were also from Spain while their combination bag of carrots and parsnips were from UK/Scotland. The huge banner over the carrot section proclaimed, “Packed with vitamins, rich in minerals, loaded with antioxidants – all from one Irish carrot”. So is this marketing or duping the consumer? Once again, NCA its over to you.