Nowadays it must feel at Tesco that everything they touch seems to turn to gold. But for many years, it was hard to see the company becoming even a sound British retailer, far less an international competitor of significance. The story of Tesco is one of astonishing and repeated transformation, of a company which began from the humblest of beginnings in London’s East end, where the young Jack Cohen pushed his barrow round the streets of Hackney and Hoxton. It then survived periods of anarchic and indiscriminate acquisitive behaviour through the 1960s and 1970s by the skin of its teeth, fighting its way through to become a significant competitor in the UK retailing scene by the end of the 1980s. Checkout (1978) was a significant customer re-presentation and the basis of a company change programme, which put Tesco firmly onto the UK map and warned competitors that they now needed to be taken seriously.
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