How training and development supports business growth
A Tesco case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Tesco is the largest British retailer and is also the world's third largest grocery retailer with outlets across Europe, USA and Asia. The business began in 1919 with one man, Jack Cohen, selling groceries from a stall in the East End of London. Jack bought surplus stocks of tea from a company called T.E. Stockwell. T.E. Stockwell and Cohen combined their names to brand the tea Cohen originally sold TESCO tea. In 1929, the first Tesco store opened in north London.

Tesco has expanded since then by a combination of acquisition of new stores, retail services and by adapting to the needs of consumers. Tesco has net profits (before tax) of around £3 billion. Tesco's primary aim is 'to serve the customer'. Keeping existing customers happy is important, as they are more likely to return. This is more cost effective for the business than acquiring new ones.

In the UK Tesco now has over 2,200 stores ranging from the large Extra hypermarket style stores to small Tesco Express high street outlets. Tesco's original product range of grocery and general merchandise has diversified to include banking, insurance services, electrical goods as well as telephone equipment and airtime.

This move towards 'one stop shopping' means customers can meet all their purchasing needs from one place. Tesco has also expanded its customer base through its website which attracts one million regular users.

As the company has grown, so has its workforce. From one man and a stall, Tesco now has approximately 280,000 employees in the UK and over 460,000 worldwide. To serve its widening markets it needs flexible and well-trained staff that can recognise the needs of the customer.

Tesco's employees work in a wide range of roles in both store and non-store functions, such as:

  • Customer Assistants on the shop floor either directly assisting customers or preparing orders for delivery to customers who have ordered online
  • Department Managers leading a team of Customer Assistants
  • Warehouse employees who help catalogue and store clothing, food or brown goods in Tesco Distribution Centres or in stores
  • Office-based staff working in a range of functions at Head Office, including Finance, Purchasing, Personnel or Marketing
  • Logistics staff who plan and carry out the distribution of products to stores.

Tesco recognises that increasing knowledge, improving skills and job satisfaction of employees are all vital to the continued growth of the company.

This case study looks at how Tesco provides training and developmentopportunities for its employees.


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