Tesco would do very well to remember that market share should not be seen as an objective – it should be viewed as an outcome.

There were no great surprises in the Tesco results: we are faced with an extremely challenged UK business, an Irish operation that remains in freefall and a patchy performance in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.

Naïve hopes that the flamboyant accounting practices were limited to a six-month period have been scotched, hinting at a systematic and long-term breach of standard practice in terms of accounting for supplier rebates and promotional monies.

But around the massive clouds that engulf Cheshunt, there are a few tantalising glimpses of a silver lining.

A strong position in online and convenience remain Tesco’s structural strength in the UK and the turnaround in select Eastern European markets appears to be on track.

Many unknowns, understandable given the short duration of Dave Lewis’ tenure, remain.

There will inevitably be some spin-offs and disposals to restore focus and generate funds and we also await some guidance in early 2015 on what the strategy will be to reinvigorate the UK business. Arguably, the only way is up. 

There are some clear priorities. Aldi and Lidl are not winning purely because they are cheap – they also succeed because they offer economy of time and economy of thought.

When I shop Aldi for dishwasher tablets, I have two choices: regular or lemon. At a big Tesco, there are something like 30 different tablet SKUs, with a bewildering array of heavily promoted brands mixed in with a bunch of private label items.

Shoppers no longer have the time, willingness or ability to spend 10 minutes in front of a fixture with a calculator trying to work out what the hell value looks like.

I hope this will genuinely be the start of a new era in which the reasons behind Tesco’s rise to supremacy will be re-established.

The chief factor will be putting shoppers, not shareholders, at the heart of the business.

The second aspect will be restoring Tesco’s innovative edge: not some of the technological bells and whistles we’ve seen recently, but genuine game-changing innovations as was the case with dotcom, Clubcard and private label pioneering.

The third will be a resetting of objectives and KPIs. Accounting scandals happen because personnel are motivated by insular, short-term targets.

Putting the shopper back in the centre will generate better behaviour, better disciplines and a better retail experience.

Tesco would do very well to remember that market share should not be seen as an objective – it should be viewed as an outcome.

An outcome of doing the right thing for shoppers, not the right thing for margin.   

  • Bryan Roberts, director of retail insights, Kantar