Dave Lewis orders Tesco HQ staff back to shop floor

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Tesco 21 supermarket aisle

Tesco HQ staff have been ordered back to the shop floor

Thousands of Tesco head office staff have been instructed to spend time on the shop floor as part of a new initiative by CEO Dave Lewis to make the retailer the “consumer’s champion” again.

Lewis has launched a new initiative called ‘Feet on the Floor’, which will require around 4,000 head office staff to spend one day a fortnight in store between now and Christmas to get a better understanding of the issues facing store managers.

Head office staff will work in store on alternative Thursdays or Fridays, with 50% of staff involved each week in the festive build-up.

“Understanding customers even better is critical to our future success and there is no better opportunity for office colleagues than by supporting our stores in the run-up to Christmas,” said a Tesco spokesman.

Lewis has vowed not to be distracted from improving service in store, despite the scandal surrounding the £250m black hole in its finances.

The Grocer has been contacted by dozens of staff following our exclusive story last week that revealed Lewis had given the green light for store managers to increase staffing hours, in an effort to improve availability and morale – and despite his ongoing route-and-branch review of the business.

 “I have worked at my store for 18 years now and can honestly say the last six years have been the worst for staff morale,” said Tesco worker Liz Jones. “Hooray – someone who listens.”

Another wrote: “I have worked in a Tesco Express for nine years and have watched the slow demise of this company through greed and avarice.

“Too many chiefs and not enough Indians is an understatement. Managers and deputies under pressure to meet targets and push sales but without the staff to get the goods on the shelves.

“We need a big shake-up, Dave Lewis, and the best way to start is by getting rid of the higher hierarchy and bringing in more ground workers. After all we are the Face of Tesco, the ones behind the till taking the flack and abuse from disgruntled customers.”

Frank Smartt, a former store manager, wrote: “Things can’t get any worse or so I thought, but as I read about our financial integrity it pains me… I still shop at Tesco and I look forward to the day our shops are buzzing again with customers being happy and with enough staff motivated to look after them.”

Readers' comments (16)

  • Remember Archie Norman did the same thing at Asda years ago when they were on their knees.lets hope it works for Dave Lewis.

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  • Dave Lewis needs to get Archie Norman on board at some level at Tescos,his turnaround of Asda was amazing!! Now that would be a dream team!!!

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  • Its a good start I have worked 10 years for tesco and been fighting for honesty and equality as managers come along and think they no it all I have 20 years to work but are treated as if I dont exist as they only promote young ones who are glorified yes men so I hope he comes to our store and talkes to the staff finally looking forward to a good future.

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  • As a business we need to be honest all day every day. Our customers need honest products and honest pricing. Employees need honest objectives and to be paid for the hours they do. As an example team leaders in Express probably work six to eight hours unpaid every week. Dave Lewis could start by making sure everyone is paid for the hours they are asked to put in.

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  • This maybe a good step, as some of the buying teams at head office are more worried about their corporate entertaining from current suppliers, reviewing the market and new products and not giving the shoppers something they want.
    Suppliers meetings may become more limited, but i hope the Tesco shoppers tell the teams what they want to buywhen in stores !

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  • They should put the staff out on a Saturday when the store is busy and the shelves are empty ,that should give them a taste of a real Tesco

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  • This is great news hopefully Dave can bring some of the greatness back into Tesco as it was under Lord MacLaurin days! I'd love to know what's he thinking at the moment!!

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  • My wife as worked at Tesco for 17 years this latest problem you would think was caused by the staff on the floor because of the way they have been treated since the news broke. Some realistic senior managers who understand both staff and customers would be a good start. Lift staff morale and you will be half way there. Good Luck

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  • Pointless! Whatever it does, Tesco can never, ever compete on price with Aldi and Lidl with its present business model.

    The gap of around 30% in the pricing is impossible to bridge unless Tesco copies the entire Aldi/Lidl model, which it clearly can't.

    Tesco will continue to decline - it has no real selling point any more. If you can afford it, you'll shop at Waitrose or M&S. If you can't you'll shop at Aldi or Lidl to save money. Why does anyone need Tesco any more?

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  • I think a lot of companies, retail or otherwise, would benefit greatly from placing office staff onto the shop/factory floor for a period of time to appreciate what really happens at the coal face. I don't mean simply to observe, I mean to take on an active role.

    Only time will tell if Lewis is full of hot air or not.

    I also believe the head office staff at Tesco should be sent out to their supplier base to see exactly what's involved in getting product onto the shelves, and the pain points these suppliers face trying to work with major multiples.

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