Former Tesco chairman Lord MacLaurin has called for his former “Saturday boy” Philip Clarke to focus on staffing levels and service to turnaround the grocer’s fortunes.
The man who led Tesco’s growth in the 1990s backed Clarke but said: “Tesco has to bring back the personal touch. Motivate staff. It is not something you will turn around very quickly.”
MacLaurin said Tesco should focus on queue management to improve service.
He said there “cannot be a disconnect” between the management and store staff, and that the “personality” has gone out of Tesco.
MacLaurin said the stores are “tired and need renovating”. Clarke is expected to reveal plans for a £300m UK store revamp when the grocer posts full-year results on April 18.
But MacLaurin, who joined Tesco in 1959 and led the business as its chairman from 1985 to 1997, said the grocer is “still a great, successful business”.
Clarke is expected to introduce dedicated fresh produce teams as well as extending its range of beauty counters, £1 sections and opticians.
MacLaurin noted how quickly shopping habits are evolving: “The consumer environment is moving very fast and technology is still in its infancy. Consumers are increasingly in control of the way they shop.”
MacLaurin has backed London-based digital receipt business Paperless Receipts. The firm collects cash and credit purchase receipts into an online account so consumers can track their spending.
The “pioneering” business, which officially launches in March, has already collected together a large number of South West London boutique retailers to trial the service using a loyalty card.
MacLaurin said he has been using his exhaustive industry contacts to kickstart the business and it is on the verge of reaching deals with several “big names” in fashion and grocery.