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The Food And Drink Retail Sector Largest Industry Marketing Essay

The food and drink retail sector represents the largest industry in the UK, providing employment for over three million people in primary production, manufacturing and retailing. In 2003 retail accounted for 9% of gross domestic product (Datamonitor, 2003). In recent years UK supermarkets have come under increased scrutiny over their treatment of suppliers, particularly of own-label products, yet the development of strategic supply networks has been an integral part of most supermarket strategies for the past decade.

The report below provides an insight into the supermarket company, Tesco, with emphasis on its external environment analysis and company's analysis of resources, competence and culture. Two future strategic options are suggested in regards to the resources based strategies.

Tesco is one of the largest food retailers in the world, operating around 2,318 stores and employing over 326,000 people. It provides online services through its subsidiary, Tesco.com. The UK is the company's largest market, where it operates under four banners of Extra, Superstore, Metro and Express. The company sells almost 40,000 food products, including clothing and other non-food lines. The company's own-label products (50 percent of sales) are at three levels, value, normal and finest. As well as convenience produce, many stores have gas stations, becoming one of Britain's largest independent petrol retailers. Other retailing services offered include Tesco Personal Finance.

2.0 Industry Analysis:

PESTEL FRAMEWORK

2.1 Political Factors

Operating in a globalized environment with stores around the globe (Tesco now operates in six countries in Europe in addition to the UK; the Republic of Ireland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey and Poland. It also operates in Asia: in South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan), Tesco's performance is highly influenced by the political and legislative conditions of these countries, including the European Union (EU).

For employment legislations, the government encourages retailers to provide a mix of job opportunities from flexible, lower-paid and locally-based jobs to highly-skilled, higher-paid and centrally-located jobs (Balchin, 1994). Also to meet the demand from population categories such as students, working parents and senior citizens. Tesco understands that retailing has a great impact on jobs and people factors (new store developments are often seen as destroying other jobs in the retail sector as traditional stores go out of business or are forced to cut costs to compete), being an inherently local and labour-intensive sector. Tesco employs large numbers of; student, disabled and elderly workers, often paying them lower rates. In an industry with a typically high staff turnover, these workers offer a higher level of loyalty and therefore represent desirable employees.

2.2 Economical Factors:

Economic factors are of concern to Tesco, because they are likely to influence demand, costs, prices and profits. One of the most influential factors on the economy is high unemployment levels, which decreases the effective demand for many goods, adversely affecting the demand required to produce such goods.

These economic factors are largely outside the control of the company, but their effects on performance and the marketing mix can be profound. Although international business is still growing (Appendix A), and is expected to contribute greater amounts to Tesco's profits over the next few years, the company is still highly dependent on the UK market. Hence, Tesco would be badly affected by any slowdown in the UK food market and are exposed to market concentration risks.

2.3 Social Factors

Current trends indicate that British customers have moved towards ‘one-stop' and ‘bulk' shopping, which is due to a variety of social changes. Tesco have, therefore, increased the amount of non-food items available for sale.

Demographic changes such as the aging population, an increase in female workers and a decline in home meal preparation mean that UK retailers are also focusing on added-value products and services. In addition, the focus is now towards; the own-label share of the business mix, the supply chain and other operational improvements, which can drive costs out of the business. National retailers are increasingly reticent to take on new suppliers (Clarke, Bennison and Guy,1994; Datamonitor Report, 2003).

The type of goods and services demanded by consumers is a function of their social conditioning and their consequent attitudes and beliefs. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of health issues, and their attitudes towards food are constantly changing. One example of Tesco adapting its product mix is to accommodate an increased demand for organic products. The company was also the first to allow customers to pay in cheques and cash at the checkout.

2.4: Technological Factors

Technology is a major macro-environmental variable which has influenced the development of many of the Tesco products. The new technologies benefit both customers and the company: customer satisfaction rises because goods are readily available, services can become more personalised and shopping more convenient. The launch of the Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) initiative provided the shift that is now apparent in the management of food supply chains (Datamonitor Report, 2003). Tesco stores utilise the following technologies:

Wireless devices

Intelligent scale

Electronic shelf labelling

Self check-out machine

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

The adoption of Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS), Electronic Funds Transfer Systems (EFTPoS) and electronic scanners have greatly improved the efficiency of distribution and stocking activities, with needs being communicated almost in real time to the supplier (Finch, 2004).

2.5 Environmental factor

In 2003, there has been increased pressure on many companies and managers to acknowledge their responsibility to society, and act in a way which benefits society overall (Lindgreen and Hingley, 2003). The major societal issue threatening food retailers has been environmental issues, a key area for companies to act in a socially responsible way. Hence, by recognizing this trend within the broad ethical stance, Tesco's corporate social responsibility is concerned with the ways in which an organization exceeds the minimum obligations to stakeholders specified through regulation and corporate governance. (Johnson and Scholes, 2003)

Graiser and Scott (2004) state that in 2003 the government has intended to launch a new strategy for sustainable consumption and production to cut waste, reduce consumption of resources and minimise environmental damage. The latest legislation created a new tax on advertising highly processed and fatty foods. The so-called ‘fat tax' directly affected the Tesco product ranges that have subsequently been adapted, affecting relationships with both suppliers and customers

2.6 Legislative Factor

Various government legislations and policies have a direct impact on the performance of Tesco. For instance, the Food Retailing Commission (FRC) suggested an enforceable Code of Practice should be set up banning many of the current practices, such as demanding payments from suppliers and changing agreed prices retrospectively or without notice (Mintel Report, 2004). The presence of powerful competitors with established brands creates a threat of intense price wars and strong requirements for product differentiation. The government's policies for monopoly controls and reduction of buyers' power can limit entry to this sector with such controls as license requirements and limits on access to raw materials (Mintel Report, 2004; Myers, 2004). In order to implement politically correct pricing policies, Tesco offers consumers a price reduction on fuel purchases based on the amount spent on groceries at its stores. While prices are lowered on promoted goods, prices elsewhere in the store are raised to compensate.

3.0 Industrial Analysis: Porters 5 forces

3.1 Threat of new entrants

The UK grocery market is primary dominated by few competitors, including four major brands of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Safeway that possess a market share of 70% and small chains of Somerfield, Waitrose and Budgens with a further 10%. Over the last 30 years, according to Ritz (2005), the grocery market has been transformed into the supermarket-dominated business. Majority of large chains have built their power due to operating efficiency, one-stop shopping and major marketing-mix expenditure. This powerful force had a great impact on the small traditional shops, such as butchers, bakers and etc. Hence, nowadays it possesses a strong barrier for new companies who desire to enter the grocery market. For instance, it becomes rather difficult for new entrants to raise sufficient capital because of large fixed costs and highly developed supply chains. This is also evident in huge investments done by large chains, such as Tesco, in advanced technology for checkouts and stock control systems that impact new entrants and the existing ones. Other barriers include economies of scale and differentiation (in the provision of products or services with a higher perceived value than the competition) achieved by Tesco and Asda seen in their aggressive operational tactics in product development, promotional activity and better distribution.

3.2 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

This force represents the power of suppliers that can be influenced by major grocery chains and that fear of losing their business to the large supermarkets. Therefore, this consolidates further leading positions of stores like Tesco and Asda in negotiating better promotional prices from suppliers that small individual chains are unable to match Ritz (2005). In return, UK based suppliers are also threatened by the growing ability of large retailers to source their products from abroad at cheaper deals. The relationship with sellers can have similar effects in constraining the strategic freedom of the company and in influencing its margins. The forces of competitive rivalry have reduced the profit margins for supermarket chains and suppliers.

3.3 Bargaining Power of Customers

Porter theorized that the more products that become standardized or undifferentiated, the lower the switching cost, and hence, more power is yielded to buyers Porter M. (1980). Tesco's famous loyalty card - Clubcard remains the most successful customer retention strategy that significantly increases the profitability of Tesco's business. In meeting customer needs, customizing service ensure low prices, better choices, constant flow of in-store promotions enables brands like Tesco to control and retain their customer base. In recent years a crucial change in food retailing has occurred due to a large demand of consumers doing the majority of their shopping in supermarkets that shows a greater need for supermarkets to sell non-food items. It has also provided supermarkets with a new strategic expansion into new markets of banking, pharmacies, etc. Consumers also have become more aware of the issues surrounding fairer trade and the influence of western consumers on the expectations and aspirations of Third World producers. Ecologically benign and ethically sound production of consumer produce such as tea, coffee and cocoa is viable, and such products are now widely available at the majority of large chains.

3.4 Threat of Substitutes

General substitution is able to reduce demand for a particular product, as there is a threat of consumers switching to the alternatives Porter M. (1980). In the grocery industry this can be seen in the form of product-for-product or the substitute of need and is further weakened by new trends, such as the way small chains of convenience stores are emerging in the industry. In this case Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's are trying to acquire existing small-scale operations and opening Metro and Express stores in local towns and city centres Ritz (2005).

3.5 Bargaining Power of Competitors

The grocery environment has seen a very significant growth in the size and market dominance of the larger players, with greater store size, increased retailer concentration, and the utilisation of a range of formats, which are now prominent characteristics of the sector. As it was mentioned above, the purchasing power of the food-retailing industry is concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of retail buyers. Operating in a mature, flat market where growth is difficult (a driver of the diversification into non-food areas), and consumers are increasingly demanding and sophisticated, large chains as Tesco are accruing large amounts of consumer information that can be used to communicate with the consumer Ritz (2005). This highly competitive market has fostered an accelerated level

of development, resulting in a situation in which UK grocery retailers have had to be innovative to maintain and build market share. Such innovation can be seen in the development of a range of trading formats, in response to changes in consumer behaviour. The dominant market leaders have responded by refocusing on price and value, whilst reinforcing the added value elements of their service.

4.0 SWOT ANALYSIS: TESCO

Source: Mintel Report, Datamonitor Reports, Tesco Case Studies

4.1 Strengths

Increasing market share:

 Tesco holds a 13% share of the UK retail market. Its multi-format capability means that it will continue to grow share in food, while increasing space contribution from hypermarkets will allow it to drive a higher share in non-food.

Tesco's general growth and ROI show no sign of abating:

 In the UK, Tesco's late 2002 investment into West-midlands based convenience store group T&S was billed as the most aggressive move into the neighbourhood market by a big-name retailer so far. The deal has turned Tesco into the country's second biggest convenience store chain after the Co-operative Group, and the company also plans to open up 59 new stores in the UK this year. Tesco has grown its non-food division to the extent that its revenues now total 23% of total group earnings. Tesco's international business segment is growing steadily, and is predicted to contribute nearly a quarter of group profits over the next five years. If geographical spread continues to grow, this will ensure Tesco's continued regional strength.

Insurance:

 In fiscal 2003 Tesco Personal Finance reached the milestone of one million motor insurance policies, making it the fastest growing motor insurance provider ever. the group's instant travel insurance allows Clubcard holders to buy their holiday insurance conveniently at the checkout. Pet insurance now has over 330,000 cats and dogs covered, while the life insurance policy followed on from the success of last year, when it was voted The Most Competitive Life Insurance Provider in the Money Facts Awards 2003.

Tesco online: 

Tesco.com is the world's biggest online supermarket and this year the group had sales of over £577 million, an increase of 29% on last year. Tesco online now operates in over 270 stores around the country, covering 96% of the UK. With over a million households nationwide having used the company's online services, the company has a strong platform to further develop this revenue stream.

Brand value:

 Profits for Tesco's operations in Europe, Asia and Ireland increased by 78% during the last fiscal year. The company has a strong brand image, and is associated with good quality, trustworthy goods that represent excellent value. Tesco's innovative ways of improving the customer shopping experience, as well as its efforts to branch out into finance and insurance have also capitalized on this.

UK market leadership reinforced:

 Since acquiring number one ranking in 1996, Tesco has developed a successful multiformat strategy that has accelerated its advantage. Its UK sales are now 71% larger than Sainsbury's. Also the Competition Commission's report makes it very difficult for a competitor to challenge its scale and has effectively scuppered Wal-Mart's chances of stealing UK leadership. Therefore, Tesco is in an enormously strong position in its domestic market.

4.2 Weaknesses

Reliance upon the UK market:

 Although international business is still growing, and is expected to contribute greater amounts to Tesco's profits over the next few years, the company is still highly dependent on the UK market (73.8% of 2003 revenues). While this isn't a major weakness in the short term, any changes in the UK supermarket industry over the next year for example, like the Morrison's group successfully purchasing the Safeway chain could alter the balance of UK supermarket power, and affect share.

Debt reduction:

 Tesco is not expected to reduce its debt until at least 2006. Tesco has a large capital expenditure program mainly due to its huge investment in space for new stores.

Since its expansion is so aggressive, Tesco has little free cash for any other operations.

Signs point to serial acquisitions: 

With an enterprise value of £23 billion, Tesco clearly has enormous firepower. Also, its product range is vast and almost any acquisition can be justified, particularly in the UK. While 'fill the gap' strategy would be useful to the company, as has been the case with the UK convenience market, there is the danger of Tesco becoming a serial acquirer, as this tends to reduce earnings visibility and quality.

4.3 Opportunities

Non-food retail:

 The growth in Tesco's hypermarket format in the UK means that there are expectations of seeing its 13% share of retail sales climb sharply over the next few years. It can use its footfall and low cost structure together with improved merchandising skills to add another leg to growth. Equally, its growth overseas will further increase earnings and scale, taking Tesco onto the virtuous circle of growth. It is estimated that Tesco's non-food sales will double over the next four years.

Worldwide it has sales of £7 billion in non-food, some 23% of the total. Its aim to be 'as strong in non-food as we are in food', no longer sounds like the consultancy-speak that it once did, and they are getting there using the basic tenets of value, choice and convenience that have been so successful in food. Around half of new space opened in the UK last year was for non-food and the result has been to increase its market share from 5% to 6% and its overall share of UK retail sales has increased by 100 basis points to 12.8%.

The company's telecoms venture is the latest stage in its strategy to develop popular retail services. It has repeated its approach in banking, by capitalizing on its brand.

Health and beauty:

 Tesco's UK health and beauty ranges continue to grow, and it is currently the fastest growing skincare retailer in the market. The company has a volume market-leading position in both toiletries and healthcare and is number one retailer in the baby goods markets. Across all health and beauty ranges Tesco continues to invest in price to deliver the value customers have come to expect and this year invested £27 million on health and beauty pricing alone. The company now has 19 stores with opticians and nearly 200 stores with pharmacies.

Further international growth:

 Tesco now operates in six countries in Europe in addition to the UK; the Republic of Ireland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey and Poland. It also operates in Asia: in South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan. Seven years ago, its International sales were £770 million. Now, they are nearly 10 times larger, at almost

£7 billion, with profits of £306 million. In the current year, Tesco will add 2.5 million square feet to sales area and could well enter another major market. Growing internationally has forced Tesco to become serious about hypermarkets and this has had seriously positive implications for growth in the UK. Tesco has formed a strategic relationship with US supermarket, Safeway Inc, to take the tesco.com home shopping model to the US. Telecoms are the latest stage in its strategy to develop popular retail services. It has repeated its approach in banking, by capitalizing on its brand. In 2004 the company plans to enter the Chinese market, as China is one of the largest economies in the world with tremendous forecast growth and will present many opportunities for Tesco.

4.4 Threats

UK structural change could spark a price war:

 The price followers in the UK market are about to become aggressive investors in price, Safeway because of new ownership and Sainsbury because of new management. Morrison is reducing Safeway's prices by up to 6% and Sainsbury is bound to see lower prices as one of the basic changes necessary to drive its recovery. With both Asda and Tesco committed to price leadership, this could result in a step down in industry profitability.

Overseas returns could fall:

 The buy case for Tesco is predicated around investment overseas driving higher group returns as each country moves past critical mass. This might not happen, either because of economic conditions, competitor action, or failure in Tesco's business model. It also could come as a consequence of an aggressive move into a larger market, such as China or Japan.

ASDA/ Wal-Mart challenge:

 Since the US shopping giant Wal-mart purchased Asda, Tesco's rank as the top UK supermarket has been threatened. Asda can now compete extremely well on price and range of goods. For the moment, Asda is the third largest supermarket in the UK, just behind Sainsbury's and then Tesco. However, Asda closed the gap on Sainsbury's in 2003, leaving the company to directly challenge Tesco's dominance.

Tesco is well aware of this, and has so far been quick to keep up with price cuts or special offers at Asda. Wal-mart may also decide to wield its buying power more heavily in the UK, and this could spell the end of Tesco's brand dominance in the future.

International expansion:

 International growth is expensive. Entering new markets with a new brand requires heavy investment and marketing, as well as land prices (which are currently low) and extra distribution and operation expense. Tesco's debt may increase before it begins to decline.

Korea is contributing a good proportion of Tesco's international profit growth. If profits continue to grow in this way, Korea will probably represent one-third of Tesco's international profits in 2003. Korean consumer spending is currently quite low, and coupled with the country's current unrest, and Tesco's large investment, this represents a high risk area for Tesco to bank on.

5.0 VALUE CHAIN

Primary Activities

(Currently, Adds value (+), losses value (-), Potential to add value (P+))

5.1 Inbound logistics

Inbound logistics are placed at the first stage of the value chain as they possess the earliest opportunity to create value. Therefore, the elements of this stage are considered to be upstream activities. The logistical tasks, in this case, include the receipt of goods from suppliers, storage of goods, handling & transportation of goods internally and placing the products on the shelves. Tesco tries to maintain the level of consumer choice in store (+), whilst improving the efficiency of its distribution system (+). In applying a quality control procedure concerning damaged goods and products, it provides an excellent opportunity to reduce costs unfairly incurred by the company, therefore preventing these costs being passed on to the consumer (P+).

5.2Operations

The production element of Tesco’ activities are service orientated. Hence, operations could be the second upstream opportunities that enable services and products to be provided, tasks such as opening every day in accordance with trading hours, maintaining the shelves, and the stock (+). In order to obtain future competitive advantage Tesco has to consider expanding further in terms of operating hours in those places, where it does not occur or opening new Metro and Express stores (P+). However, this might be restricted by law or planning councils, which is essentially takes away competitive advantage (-).

5.3 Outbound logistics

The third stage of the value chain is the outbound logistics that is concerned with delivering the product to the customer. Tesco currently adds value in its home delivery service (+). However, other tangibles that have to be improved are those of parking facilities, trolley collectors, till staff and systems to gain competitive advantage, if executed more efficiently than competitors, they will add value by saving the customer time (+), whilst increasing the turnaround (+). Adding value could be achieved through the implementation of a trolley deposit system, keeping them tidy and enabling customers to get to and from the premises quicker, as well as making these facilities readily available and quicker to obtain (P+).

5.4 Marketing and sales

Marketing and sales are placed under downstream elements of the value chain. Clubcard gives further discounts and loyalty for the customers (+). However, Tesco may also decide to attract more customers by advertising via radio, local newspaper and national T.V. e.g. the “lower prices” advertising campaign or more discounts offers (+). With a more customer sophistication and their awareness of ethical business practices, it may give the company some constraints in terms of selling environmentally friendly products (-). In return, Tesco can take it as an advantage and provide customers with more of the recycling points and include information in their advertisements, adding value for customers who will believe that by choosing to shop at Tesco, people are helping the environment (P+).

upgrading its anti-fraud software (infrastructure/technology, interdependence), and installing new security systems which aim to reduce internal theft, an expense the customer will now not have to cover in the price of their purchases (+).

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