Cash and carry king lined up for Tesco top job, writes The Daily Mail after Charles Wilson was named Tesco’s UK & Ireland chief. “Many speculate his appointment puts him in pole position to replace Dave Lewis as chief executive of the entire company when he steps down.” (The Daily Mail). News of the appointment also seemed to confirm speculation that Mr Wilson is being lined up as a potential replacement for Mr Lewis when the Tesco chief executive eventually steps down (The Times £).
Tesco will hand control of its UK business to Charles Wilson, the Booker Group boss who is set to become one of the biggest individual shareholders when the two companies merge next month (The Financial Times £). Wilson’s new role heading Tesco’s retail and wholesale businesses in the UK will allow him to develop new hybrid formats (The Guardian). Booker boss Charles Wilson to lead Tesco in UK as it confirms profits are on track (The Telegraph).
The Daily Mail’s City diary column ponders whether Unilever’s next boss may well be a Tesco exec, but not Dave Lewis. “If Unilever ever come knocking, many reckon it’s not ‘Drastic Dave’, 52, but ‘Three Brains’ Wilson, 51, whose services they’ll be after.” (The Daily Mail)
Waitrose is to close part of its loyalty scheme at the end of February after customers complained they found it too confusing. It is ending ‘pick your own offers’, which gave shoppers 20% off on 10 chosen products from a range of hundreds, which could be anything from expensive buys such as smoked salmon to frequently bought items such as loo roll. (The Guardian)
US supermarket chain Kroger is selling its convenience store business to the UK’s EG Group for $2.15bn. As part of the agreement convenience store retailer EG Group will establish its North American headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio and continue to operate under the established names (The Financial Times £). Euro Garages said that it would buy Kroger’s 762-site network, which operates in 18 states and includes 66 franchise operations. The shops employ 11,000 staff and operate under brand names including Turkey Hill, Kwik Shop, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb and Loaf ‘N Jug. Kroger’s convenience shop business generated revenue of $4 billion in 2016 (The Times £).
Britain’s retailers battled through “tough” trading conditions in January as consumers preserved their cash for essential food shopping and shunned big ticket purchases (The Guardian). Consumer spending rose last month, according to two closely watched retail surveys, but the increase was driven by households having to spend more of their budgets on everyday essentials (The Times £).
Asda has become the latest supermarket to join the war against plastic by pledging to reduce it “wherever” it can, including slashing the amount in its own-brand packaging by 10% in the next 12 months. (The Guardian)
Wesfarmers has announced a A$1bn writedown on its high-profile acquisition of British retailer Homebase, admitting that it bungled the 2016 takeover and is now reviewing the future of its UK DIY business (The Financial Times £). The Australian owner of Homebase could quit Britain after writing down the value of the DIY chain by more than it paid for it less than two years ago (The Times £). Nearly 2,000 British retail jobs are at risk as the Australian owner of Homebase counts the cost of a disastrous and untested attempt to overhaul the brand and turn around poor trading (The Telegraph).