The end of twenty four hour shopping, probably not just yet but this week’s announcement that two more Tesco Stores will be closing overnight in Greater Manchester may yet be significant.
Customers of the superstore on Victoria Road, Blackley and Leigh will be joining those in Failsworth, Burnage and Didsbury in not being able to pop in at midnight to stick up on, well whatever you need to stock up on at that time of night.
There were in a list of 20 announced to add to the 76 earlier in the year as the group, desperately trying to return to profitability, seek to reduce costs.
The move follows the sake of the Dobbins Garden Centres to an investor group led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital last week and the announcement of the sale of its controlling stake in the Kipa business in Turkey and the Giraffe chain of restaurants to Boparan Restaurants Holdings Limited.
Tesco says that the fact that nearly a quarter of its stores will no longer be open 24:7 isn’t thoughts cost cutting exercise but twenty years after the chain began non stop opening, customer habits have changed.
Long opening hours are no longer seen as the best use of a supermarket’s resources, much stock replenishment is now being done during the day.
Tony Hoggett, Tesco’s retail director, told The Grocer the changes were solely aimed at updating and improving their customer service.
The big four supermarkets, as we know have been under threat from the no frills Discount change who came to prominence during the financial crash and subsequent recession which seemed to sound the beginning of the end of the out of town chains as well as the advent of online shopping.
For some this is another nail in the coffin of the retail giant which blitzed its way across the high street, rollercoastering through local businesses, demanding ever tighter margins from its supply base, bankrupting farmers, brainwashing customers, cutting costs and driving its rivals out of business, it was the very epitomy of Thatcherism.
When the chain announced that it has lost £6.8b combined with dodgy accounting practices, it’s critics thought the game was up as it turned out that it made its real money out of charging its suppliers to sell their products to its customers.
It isn’t, not yet anyway.It still employs half a million people, many more in its supply, it turns over more than £50b, still one in every three pounds spent in supermarkets goes into Tesco’s tills, and that supplier relationship has been simplified.
Dave Lewis has been at the helm of the supermarket for eighteen months, its share price is on the up, its debt had fallen and while its market share is down, it is still above Sainsbury and ASDA.
Our bet is that Tesco will come through this, but don’t expect to buy that loaf at 1.00am