Only one in five shoppers believes Tesco has become too powerful and is killing off competition, an exclusive survey for The Grocer reveals.
Of more than 2,000 shoppers quizzed, almost a third (31%) also said they believed the retailer was a great British success story.
And three-quarters of respondents admitted to having shopped in at least one of Tesco’s formats in the last month. Of these shoppers, 28% said they estimated to be spending £21-£50 a week.
The findings appear to disprove media hype that the retailer should be bracing itself for a consumer backlash as payback for its dominant
position. Of particular concern has been the much-quoted statistic that one out of every eight pounds spent now ends up in Tesco’s tills. The retailer did little to endear itself to critics last month when it posted a 7.6% rise in like-for-like sales growth (excluding petrol) and 12.1% total sales growth in the UK in the seven weeks to January 8.
But research carried out by HI Europe appears to show that consumers’ affection for Britain’s number one retailer remains undimmed.
Of those who had shopped in Tesco in the last month, more than half (55%) said shopping there was better than at any of its rivals.
More than 40% said its choice and range of products was better than that offered by other supermarkets and almost half felt it offered greater value for money than its competitors.
Only 7% said their shopping experience there was worse than elsewhere.
Mike Dennis, a food retail analyst at CAI Cheuvreux, said the findings showed how “ill-conceived” national newspaper headlines warning of a Tesco backlash had been.
“People are less structured in their shopping habits and Tesco has responded to that better than any other retailer with its selection of formats.
“Consumers also understand that,” said Dennis. “It will now be interesting to see what reaction Tesco gets (from the national press) when it reports in April with profits of £2bn.
“It will undoubtedly be accompanied by useless facts about how much it makes a second or how many Cartier watches that equates to, but I doubt whether consumers will be swayed while Tesco is still giving them what they want.”
Simon Mowbray