Basket shopping

Hardly dark arts!

Sir, ‘Subconscious supermarket shopping’ (3 October) made interesting points, but phrases like ‘psychological warfare’ conjured up Mad Men notions about subliminal advertising and the dark arts of marketing.

In supermarkets we process information subconsciously before shortlisting certain things that merit our conscious attention. If we understand how these processes work, we can arrange stores, categories and displays so they are easier to shop.

The notion that supermarkets can fool customers into buying something they don’t want is silly and trivialises the real importance of this topic.

One factor behind the growth of the discounters is that they are easy to shop. Removing complexity from shopping will be fundamental to the big four’s ability to restore profitability.

Tony Nunan, MD, Visuality

New Tesco means ROI

Sir, Asda, volumes bleeding away but profits rising, while Tesco the exact opposite: volumes rising in Reset stores, but profits down overall. How does Asda do it?

Well, Asda is being offered more promotions as brands without success chase the volume increases they used to get last year. Availability for brands on promotion is through the floor. So Asda is gaining many more discounts, but delivering significantly fewer sales as a result. However, the Tesco model is seeing increased sales and promotion uplifts as greater space now means more availability, and greater ROI. Smart brands should move promotion and shopper marketing money into New Tesco, where you can get ROI, and out of Asda, where you can’t.

Colin Harper, CEO, RetailVitalStatistics

Dave’s shares

Sir, Regarding Dave Lewis’ share purchase (‘Dave Lewis buys Tesco shares after critics question lack of investment,’ the, 8 October). Of course the executives couldn’t have bought shares before! The board have access to significant insider information that could materially impact the share price. By waiting until their results have been released and some time after that, they have done what is right. It would have been a story if they hadn’t.

Ruth Topham, via