In a stunning press release just a month into the new year and titled “Making Our Business Fit For the Future”, Tesco announced that it was closing seven of its Jack’s stores while converting the other six into Tesco superstores.
Some 130 colleagues effectively may be out of jobs or may be offered “alternatives” due to the decision to jettison Jack’s, launched just four years ago as an ode to founder Jack Cohen that boldly set out to be the least expensive of all supermarkets. In the end, it simply couldn’t compete straightaway against the faster-growing Aldi and Lidl. Despite the efforts of workers throughout the pandemic to keep stores running, Tesco didn’t see them working long-term.
Tesco officials managed to spin the news this way:
“We have learnt a huge amount from Jack’s and this has helped Tesco become more competitive, more efficient and strengthened our value proposition, including through the launch of Aldi Price Match,” Tesco CEO Jason Tarry said. “In turn, this has enabled us to consistently attract new customers to Tesco from our competitors over the last two years, and we know they increasingly recognise the value they can find at Tesco. With the learnings from Jack’s now applied, the time is right to focus on ensuring we continue to deliver the best possible value for customers in our core business.”
The converted supermarkets will see workers retained. Tesco also plans to carry on the Jack’s name “across Booker and our symbol brands” according to Tarry.
Citing the need to serve new customer demand and provided further value, Tesco also said it will close 317 meat, fish or hot deli counters in its stores throughout the UK that are underperforming. Those workers will be offered alternative roles. Meanwhile, there will be no more night replenishment at 85 stores, including three dozen large supermarkets. More than 1,000 jobs are reported to be on the line there.