Jacqui Boast – senior vice-president, sales and marketing at Displaydata – investigates two Tesco Extra stores, and exposes a void in class. 

Tesco Extra, Watford

Tesco has made a large investment in its Watford store with the aim of turning grocery shopping into a social experience, and it’s really paid off. The store feels very high-end, like you’re in John Lewis rather than a supermarket. It’s not just the layout that’s impressive – added features such as an integrated Harris + Hoole cafe, a Bakery Project concept store, Giraffe restaurant and a nail bar have all turned the complex into a retail destination. This is enhanced by a team of visible and accessible staff providing great customer service. It’s a really enjoyable shopper experience.

Tesco Extra, Portsmouth

After Tesco’s Watford store, its Portsmouth site pales in comparison. It is cluttered and messy, almost claustrophobic, and the layout is confusing. Add to this some clumsy merchandising and you get the impression the store doesn’t know who it is targeting, or understand its customer journey. The convenience and choice of online shopping means all stores – not just Tesco outlets – really need to engage and entertain to attract high shopper volumes, and sadly Tesco Portsmouth doesn’t meet either of these criteria.