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Cuts in Tesco staff will mean worse customer service

Tesco was in the news again last week and so of course, given my history with Tesco, I couldn’t let it go without comment!

Tesco announces cuts to its business what effects will it have on service?

#tescofail back to school sign over alcohol

Tesco announced last week that it was going to cut about 9,000 jobs. Well, the BBC announced it first jn their story Tesco counter cost cuts to hit 9,000 jobs, based on leaked information which said that the supermarket chain would be closing 90 counters and that bakeries would be using frozen dough. Tesco was then forced to issue a statement so that the BBC and others updated their stories.

The Tesco statement Building a simpler, more sustainable business said that “We expect that around 90 stores will close their counters, with the remaining 700 trading with either a full or flexible counter offer for our customers.” The supermarket giant is to make changes to stock management, reducing merchandising hours through simplification of layouts, changes to canteens and changes to make the head office leaner. Ultimately the changes will result in a loss of 9,000 jobs.

The statement says that Tesco colleagues have told them that they want to spend more time with customers. However in the same paragraph the company says it is reducing “the amount of layout changes we make, so it’s easier for customers, and less work for colleagues meaning fewer merchandising hours are needed.” In short, that’s not freeing up staff to serve customers is it?!

Backdrop to Tesco cuts

In the Tesco 3Q & Christmas Trading Statement 2018/19 CEO, Dave Lewis, said

photo of Dave Lewis“In the UK we delivered significant improvements in our competitive offer and this is reflected in a very strong Christmas performance which was ahead of the market. And “… as we enter our Centenary we are in a strong position.”


The company made 1.3 billion profit in 2017-2018 So why the cuts? Are they necessary? What will they mean for staff and customers? Is greed seeping into Tesco once again? In my blog article “The Real Reason Clarke was pushed” I explored how the previous CEO, Phillip Clarke, didn’t keep his eyes on his customers. Instead of watching his home market he went on a development spree round the world whilst in the UK Tesco kept losing money. Lewis’ answer was to close loss-making branches abroad and cut development of some planned stores in the UK. Jobs went from head office and one of the company’s larger offices closed down as staff relocated to the head office complex at Welwyn Garden City. Lewis has overseen a turnaround in Tesco’s fortune as customers return in their thousands. Is he now going too far in the other direction and losing sight of what customers want? Why risk what is going on at shop floor level where customers will be adversely affected? They weren’t affected directly by previous cost cutting activities but they will be with these changes. If cuts are really needed (and that is clearly questionable) should they not be evenly distributed across the whole business?

What will the Tesco cuts on the shop floor mean for staff?

Well, Tesco say that they “will be doing all [they] can to help colleagues affected by these changes, including offering redeployment opportunities wherever possible.” With a planned cut to 9,000 jobs, redeploying them all is unlikely.

Are all Tesco staff employed on an equal basis?

Nope. Whilst staff will see job losses it seems there are no plans to cut the salary or benefits for any members of the executive team. If there is a need to cut because there isn’t enough profit then why are those in charge being paid as if they were continuing the success? Is it because of greed from shareholders seeking more from the firm in dividends?

What will the cuts mean for customers and what will be the impact on Tesco?

It’s too early to tell, but other supermarkets will be watching with keen interest. Tesco say that it is cutting the counters because there is less interest in them in recent years. That’s probably due to the increase in online shopping. However, with all this cost cutting, presumably to try and compete with the discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, will Tesco just become one and the same? What happened to having a good range, good price and good service? Even if they can’t compete with the higher end supermarkets, such as Waitrose, why not fight for the top of the middle market? Is it a fight to the bottom? It looks to me like a short-term quick fix where the aim is to maximise profits regardless of quality and see what happens. It doesn’t look like a well thought-out plan.

Perhaps Tesco should be a bit more innovative and open up those counters to the local butchers and bakeries? Just rent out the space whilst offering more choice and helping local businesses. There are plenty of other ways of saving money and introducing innovative improvements to customer services rather than cut, cut, cut.

Tesco risks losing the goodwill of customers. It is going to harm employee relations without a doubt and could therefore damage the public image of Tesco. Tesco should be celebrating its centenary this year and laying off 9,000 loyal staff is not the kind of birthday present the company should be giving itself

What’s needed is more service, and less greed!


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The Complaining Cow’s history with Tesco

The Complaining Cow and Tesco, how it started… and grew

Regular readers of my blog know of my history with Tesco. However, I am becoming increasingly aware that when people are looking for how to complain about Tesco they are finding my blog! Interestingly it is the post that started this blog back in the Summer of 2012 to which most people are directed and not the ones where I took the giant to court and won! I get enquiries and comments etc. about my dealings with Tesco and thought it was time to provide a clear history of posts, so here you are:

The Complaining Cow asks Tesco Dave Lewis about fake farms

The Complaining Cow and Tesco 2012 – 2013 including THAT court case

12/07/2012 Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy  – the first post about poor service and the CEO’s regard for customers apparently differing to his predecessor’s

Small Claims Court Confirmation
Small Claims Court Confirmation

10/06/2013 The Complaining Cow v Tesco #TescoFail!  – The result of taking Tesco to court

09/07/2013 The Complaining Cow V Tesco Update #Tescofail (again) an update to the result

23/07/2013 The #Tescofail Saga Ends. (Until the next one) the final update


04/08/2013 The Complaining Cow Battles With Tesco Again a lighthearted battle of sweets with Tesco

21/08/2013 Victory in latest Complaining Cow V Tesco Battle battle verdict

The Complaining Cow and Tesco 2014 – 2015 and meeting the new CEO

14/01/2014 Warning: How not complaining drives up fat cat profits! including a story about Tesco

28/04/2014 Insect Found in Tesco Rice Named Philip After CEO fight for redress

21/07/2014 The Real Reason Clarke Was Pushed! ha! Kicked out, my thoughts!

16/10/14 List of feedback provided by people on the Facebook page to give to CEO when meeting him

Tesco Group CEO Dave Lewis Helen Dewdney in store20/10/2014 The Complaining Cow Meets New Tesco CEO Dave Lewis how I got to meet the new CEO and what happened next

12/11/2014 Statement from Tesco after feedback provided by The Complaining Cow through the Facebook page. (Note that they have acted on some and are acting on others) which will take a little longer!)

02/12/2014 The Complaining Cow v Tesco CEO & Executive Team where I met Dave again with some of his senior staff and after posting this article had to complain on Twitter which resulted in:

03/12/2014  Went to collect groceries and not there had to wait to following day requested them to be delivered for free and got this

The Complaining Cow and Tesco 2016 – 2017, the exclusive interview and in the media

14/01/2015 Can customers trust the new(ish) Tesco CEO? LinkedIn post regarding the January trading statement.

14/01/2015 How to be a Tesco Tester guest blog post from Tesco

22/01/2015 My mother gets in on the Tesco bashing Facebook post

25/01/2015 Tesco is annoying me – short Facebook post on latest annoyances

26/01/2015 A tweet from @ceoemail informing me that 90% of people visiting the from my site are looking for the Tesco CEO’s email address 🙂

06/02/15 Article in The Daily Express I’m proof it pays to complain, says woman who sued Tesco and WON

26/06/15 Tesco figures show that listening to customers pays off a positive post about Tesco figures. Strange but true.

14/10/15 Told Dave in email Tesco appears to be breaking the law again? Up on FB 20/10/15

23/10/15 Dave’s response.

02/12/15 Piece on the public’s views of the Tesco adverts

11/04/16 Are supermarkets giving us value for our money yet? guest post on the Tesco website Talking Shop

13/04/16 Press release Tesco results show “every little helps” but “it could do so much more” says consumer champion

26/04/16 Tesco reduce Clubcard loyalty offer?

02/09/16 Fake farms – a bad smell that won’t go away lots of info about this from people and relevant organisations

15/09/16 The Complaining Cow interviews Tesco bosses Matt Davies and Dave Lewis blog post about this interview (for which Tesco had editorial control):

Tesco | Complaining Cow meets Dave Lewis and Matt Davies

20/12/16 Tesco on track to increase fake farms

14/03/17 Casual sexism is alive and kicking in UK boardrooms following on from sexist remarks made by Tesco Board chair and other CEOs at Retail Week conference

Alessandra Bellinini CCO Tesco22/05/17 The customer is still the boss. Interview with the new Tesco Chief Customer Officer


03/07/17 Tesco insect in raspberries!  we named him but don’t think they got the  joke, that or they are miserable

27/12/17 Don’t gobble rancid Tesco turkey. Know your rights Tesco finest turkeys, complaints and your rights

The Complaining Cow and Tesco 2018 – 2019 quiet but something is brewing…

Xmas party food on tiers baubles hanging in corner


16/07/18 Tesco Christmas in July event where lots of Christmas stock is put on show. My take on it all!



The Complaining Cow and Tesco 2020 -2021

13/11/21 Tesco fails to deliver – on delivery slots! people tried to get slots by staying up to midnight to book a slot as soon as it became available. However, customers queued online for well over an hour and in some cases more than two hours.

25/10/21 Tesco website crash – every little helps? The website went down and there was talk of data breaches.

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logoGet the GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!!




Tesco contacts for complaints

I also keep being asked for contact details for Tesco so here you are:

Email for customer services:
Email for CEO here

All Tesco departments contact details here. ‘phone numbers and addresses.

Companies and working with The Complaining Cow

The Complaning Cow & Tesco CEOs


Case study: Tesco and a consumer champion  


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