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Andrew Gaved, Editor

Tesco reveals details of fresh food focus

Tesco has told investors it is to put an emphasis on fresh food and cut back on aggressive space expansion.

The grocer has said it will invest in staffing in the fresh produce and meat departments with dedicated teams in department uniforms, the Financial Times reported.

Credit Suisse analyst Andrew Kasoulis said in a note that Tesco had signalled its intention to focus on fresh food and cut back on space expansion.

Kasoulis expects the grocer to ramp up its communication with customers, consider changing its advertising and introduce high-profile promotions.

The grocer has been meeting with investors in recent weeks ahead of group chief executive Philip Clarke’s scheduled update on plans for the business in April. In January, the retailer issued its first profit warning in 20 years.

Tesco’s renewed emphasis on fresh comes as Sainsbury’s chief executiven Justin King told the City Food Lecture in London last night that the grocer will dedicate staff to the fresh produce aisles. King said plans were “coming down the track” to introduce staff that will do more than “nip out the back”.

Tesco chairman Richard Broadbent has met with shareholders to address concerns over the grocer’s corporate image to customers and a lack of diversity on the group’s board.

Broadbent has appointed former senior Barclays director Deanna Oppenheimer as non-executive director of Tesco and Tesco Bank as of March 1.

Andrew Higginson is retiring as chief executive of the retailing services arm, including Tesco Bank to be succeeded Graham Pimlott, senior independent director of Tesco Bank since 2008, who is non-executive chairman of Tesco Bank.

Yesterday Tesco was forced to apologise to customers after a glitch in its till systems meant its new ‘Spring Clean’ promotion was not recognised.

A spokesman said: “We apologise to those customers affected who are of course entitled to a refund.”

For more retail news see subscription site RETAIL WEEK

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