Tesco has opened its new Tesco Extra hypermarket in Watford, which has been completely overhauled to show what the ‘new Tesco’ wants to be on all its shopping floors. The shop of over 7,500 sqm has to be a "combination of shopping and leisure".
Heritage of Leahy
The largest formats of Tesco in Great Britain are in a difficult position, just as all other hypermarket retailers on the European mainland. If it is up to Tesco, the renewed Tesco Extra in Watford is the beginning of a better future.
This makes the new shop strategically interesting, because Tesco still is performing badly and CEO Philip Clarke is under pressure. His predecessor, Sir Terry Leahy, realised major expansion and growth for Tesco when he launched Tesco Extra in the 1990s.
Clarke now has to deal with the heritage of Leahy and has to save his position as CEO by bringing the hypermarket back to life and make it relevant again for customers in a rapidly digitalising retail market.
The shop itself answers to Tesco’s philosophy of ‘Food First’: there is a lot of attention for fresh foods and several food concepts, such as Euphorium (bakery), Harris + Hoole (coffee) and the restaurant chain Giraffe, which was acquired by Tesco in March, all get enough space in the shop.
The Bakery Project, an initiative of Euphorium and Tesco aimed at training student-bakers and supporting local suppliers and charities, will also be present at Tesco Extra in Watford.
Tesco completely owns Giraffe, but it only has a minority share in Euphorium and Harris + Hoole. In the United Kingdom this caused some criticism, as they found it worrying to see small players give themselves over to big brother Tesco.
Non-food and services
Next to food there will also be much attention for non-food and services at Tesco in Watford. There is a large section for household appliances, a ‘Tesco Loves Baby’ department for new parents and a renewed cosmetics department, where you can even get a manicure.
The new Tesco will also offer Click & Collect, where customers can pick up ordered products, and there will also be an optician, a pharmacy and a health centre. Tesco also wants to be relevant locally by offering rooms to locals, which can be used for activities such as yoga, Lamaze classes or cooking classes.
“Watford represents a fundamental change in the way that people are doing their shopping. More and more of our customers are shopping for leisure”, says Chris Bush, managing director of Tesco UK, in a press release. “It offers us a glimpse into what stores of the future might look like and we’re really excited to be sharing that with our customers.”