Tesco to close some meat, fish and deli counters

LONDON — Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, has announced plans to close meat, fish and hot deli counters in 317 stores. The closures are part of a wider restructuring of the retail chain’s core business.

“Customer shopping behavior has changed significantly in recent years, resulting in fewer customers regularly using the counters in some of our stores,” said Jason Tarry, Managing Director of Tesco UK and Ireland. “This forced us to review the relevance of each counter in our stores.

“In 279 stores where we are seeing local customer demand for meat, fish or hot deli counters, we will continue to offer these counter services,” Tarry said. “However, in the 317 stores where we are seeing the lowest demand, we will be closing those counters and reallocating the space to better reflect our customers’ needs.”

There will be no redundancies linked to counter service changes, Tesco said. Affected employees will be offered alternate roles.

The company attributed the decision to discontinue counter service in some stores to consumers shopping differently. But Tesco previously boasted that sales of ‘Veganuary’ had soared thanks to the launch of a new plant-based Wicked Kitchen Meal Deal offering consumers a main course for two, a side and dessert for £8.

Tesco said the vegan meal deal helped demand for its plant-based Wicked Kitchen range more than double in January. Wicked Kitchen was the first plant-based line to launch in partnership with a UK supermarket in 2018.

“Over the past year, we have focused on improving the accessibility of the highest quality plant-based foods for shoppers by lowering prices,” said Derek Sarno, chief innovation officer. plant-based at Tesco. “The Wicked Kitchen Meal Deal, which is an amazing deal for people who want to try herbs for the first time, kicked off this Veganuary and testifies to it.

“The amount of choice these days is enticing and almost every category in supermarkets now offers plant-based options, making it easier than ever for those considering or switching to adopting more meat-free days of the week. “, added Sarno. “We’ve introduced brighter meatless alternatives to classic favorites like our Moq au Vin version of Coq au Vin, a vegan BLT sandwich, a Kickin’ Cauli Katsu Curry and even our non-dairy Wicked Tiramisu.”

GlobalData, a leading data and analytics firm, found that 62% of respondents were actively trying to reduce their red meat intake or eat it in moderation, and 65% said the same for dairy products.

“People will increasingly base their choice of retailer on the availability of plant-based products, with younger generations leading the trend,” said Ana Purcaroiu, senior consumer analyst at GlobalData. “The GlobalData survey also found that 21% of UK millennials say the availability of special diet products is the most influential factor when deciding where to shop.”

Tesco also said the retailer would stop operating stores under the Jack’s brand which Tesco launched in 2018 as a low-cost operating model. Of the 13 Jack’s stores, six will be converted into Tesco hypermarkets, with the other seven Jack’s stores due to close in the coming months.

And the company will shift its overnight stock replenishment to daytime hours, putting 1,600 jobs at risk.

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