Tesco results show “every little helps” but “it could do so much more” says consumer champion
Tesco PLC’s Preliminary Results 2015/16 were announced today and show that Tesco is back in the black. They showed that there was a Group like-for-like sales growth of 1.6% in 4Q, £6.2bn reduction in total indebtedness, including contribution from sale of Homeplus in Korea and that, according to Tesco, “customer, colleague, supplier measures all improved”.
But are Tesco customers really happier?
Helen Dewdney, consumer expert, The Complaining Cow and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results is particularly interested in customer satisfaction. The results show that UK customer satisfaction is up 5% over the course of the year. The Tesco Chief Executive, Dave Lewis, says “As a team, we are committed to serving shoppers a little better every day, in what remains a challenging, deflationary and uncertain market.” Having met Dave Lewis a number of times since he started in September 2014, she is confident that he is delivering on his promise to listen to customers better and act upon what they are saying. “The multi buys and confusing pricing strategies Tesco tackled in 2014 was a good move. Customers would like this to see process accelerated in all departments, as it appears to be taking a long time. For example, it is time they sorted out the pricing in cheeses and their fresh salmon seems to now never be on offer but not hugely reduced either. There is still massive room for improvement!”
Other initiatives, such as getting rid of vouchers – which we inevitably lose – and brand matching at the till, are also popular with customers. It remains to be seen whether Tesco’s move to woo Sainsbury’s customers by accepting Sainsbury’s Brand Match vouchers until the end of June, as well as giving their own brand match guarantee on top, is a short term win or if it will keep those customers for the long-term.
Dogged by dodgy labelling
Dewdney warns that although moves are in the right direction for Tesco, it needs to be mindful of Lewis’ promise of transparency. The latest allegations of Tesco labelling their value range with the names of fake farms and misleading customers are not going away and could impact on future trust in the chain.