OPERATIONS

Planet Retail commentary on Tesco’s new CEO

BY Staff Writer

London — Natalie Berg, global research director at Planet Retail, commented:

“As a branding expert, Lewis’ first task will be to define Tesco. Philip Clarke himself has admitted that the brand has baggage. It doesn’t stand for value, yet it doesn’t stand for quality, and without a clear proposition we fear that Tesco will continue to lose customers to more relevant and better-defined channels.

(See related story: Tesco CEO to be replaced by Unilever exec)

“Being the first ‘outsider’ CEO in Tesco history, Lewis will quickly need to prove that having no direct retail experience isn’t necessarily an impediment to taking on the biggest job in U.K. retail. The board will be relying on his significant FMCG experience to help steer Tesco safely through the increasingly-fractious price skirmishes currently unsettling the industry.

“Despite Clarke’s relatively short, bumpy stint at the top, we have to remember that when he inherited the business three years ago, the focus was very much on international operations – some of which have since rightly

“Although we feel Clarke has made significant progress on refreshing existing stores, the fundamental issue remains – shoppers are no longer making that big weekly trip to an out-of-town superstore. Unfortunately for Tesco, over half of its stores fall in the 50,000+sq.-ft. bracket.*

“A change in leadership may bring some much-needed fresh thinking to Tesco, but the structural shifts in the grocery sector cannot be reversed. Lewis will need to reposition Tesco to adapt to this new normal.”

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OPERATIONS

Urban Decay launches online product discovery tool

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – L’Oreal cosmetics brand Urban Decay has partnered with Compare Metrics to launch its online product discovery solution. The Compare Metrics solution for Urban Decay includes content curation, adaptive navigation and shopping scenarios.

The Compare Metrics Content Curation Team has added a new layer of merchandising language to help shoppers quickly find desired Urban Decay product. The team was able to utilize existing product detail page content to create attributes such as “finish,” but decision-critical attributes like “color” and “shade” were created and tagged as new product data.

When compared to a control group running simultaneously, preliminary shopper response results include: 17% average engagement rate, above-average engagement rate of nine times per session, and 16% higher conversion rate.

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Tesco CEO to be replaced by Unilever exec

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — British retailing giant Tesco Plc on Monday said CEO Philip Clarke would step down in October, to be replaced by 27-year Unilever executive Dave Lewis, with the change effective Oct. 1. Clarke, who has been with Tesco for 40 years, will remain with the retailer until January 2015.

(See related story: Planet Retail commentary on Tesco’s new CEO)

Also on Monday, Tesco said recent sales had been more challenging than anticipated and its profit in the first half of its financial year would be below expectations. It was the second profit warning issued since Clarke took the reins of the company in March 2011.

"Having guided Tesco through a substantial repositioning in challenging markets, Philip Clarke agreed with the board that this is the appropriate moment to hand over to a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile," Tesco chairman Richard Broadbent said in a statement.

The incoming Tesco CEO, who is credited with revamping a succession of businesses at Unilever, currently serves as its global president of personal care.

“Dave Lewis brings a wealth of international consumer experience and expertise in change management, business strategy, brand management and customer development,” Broadbent said. “He is already known to many people inside Tesco having worked with the business over many years in his roles at Unilever. The board believes that with Dave’s leadership Tesco will sustain and improve its leading position in the retail market."

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