Tesco to axe 20% of its products

May 13, 2019

Tesco is planning to remove 20 per cent of its products from shelves as part of its efforts to regain ground from discount retailers.

As The Times reports, Tesco chief product officer Andrew Yaxley told suppliers last week that the supermarket giant will make swingeing cuts to its product offering, particularly in household departments.

It’s the latest such move under chief executive Dave Lewis, who has reduced the number of products on Tesco shelves from nearly 90,000 in 2014 to around 40,000 today.

Tesco enjoys the largest market share of the ‘Big Four’ UK supermarket retailers, a position that was bolstered by the competition watchdog’s rejection last month of a proposed merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s.

But in recent years the UK’s largest supermarket has lost ground to discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl, which have expanded rapidly.

Aldi’s market share grew to 8 per cent earlier this year, putting it just 2.3 percentage points behind Morrisons, the smallest of the Big Four.

In response Tesco has attempted to cut costs, including through the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

Last week the retailer also began selling its discount ‘Jack’s’-branded staples in its own stores. The colourfully-packaged items had previously only been available in dedicated Jack’s stores, in towns including St Helen’s and Barnsley.

Separately, writing in the Daily Mail this morning Lewis urged the government to introduce a new tax on online retailers such as Amazon, in an effort to support struggling High Street retailers.

He called for a 2 per cent tax on online retail sales, to be used to fund a 20 per cent reduction in business rates for small brick-and-mortar shops.