Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke yesterday defended his strategy in the face of the latest drop in market share, saying “big companies take a long time to change”.
The world’s third-largest retailer is 22 months into a turnaround programme, but sales are still falling at its 3,150 UK stores despite spending on refits, more staff and new product ranges.
Figures this week showed its market share has fallen to 28.7 per cent – the lowest since 2004. But Clarke did not feel his job was on the line, although the 54-year-old doubts he will stay as long as predecessor Sir Terry Leahy, who led the company for 13 years.
Speaking at a trade conference, Clarke said: “I know our business is getting better. There is a lag between it getting better and people talking about it.”
Last month Tesco effectively abandoned a target for a UK operating margin of 5.2 per cent, the highest in the industry, in favour of cutting prices.