Bradley said Tesco has been tracking consumers changing confidence, and where as price and fuel inflation were the main concerns last year, this has given way to job security as the biggest issue.
Unlike Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, who spoke at the conference earlier in the day, Bradley said that she believed consumers are trading down.
She said that this is manifesting itself through them changing lots of little things: consumers doing without a latte, finding cheaper ways to treat themselves and trading off larger purchases such as sofa or a holiday.
Unlike King, Bradley also sees that consumers’ concern for ethical matters giving way to price. She says that mums’ main concerns right now are providing for their family, and not letting them suffer even when budgets have to be cut.
She defended Tesco’s decision to launch its Discounter range, and said that it was done after Tesco had identified a substantial gap in the market between generic branded value products, and big brand merchandise.
She used the example of one customer who had been able to cut her weekly shopping bill in half by moving to the Discounter products.
She said price is where retailers need to start, and so Tesco has focused on reducing the cost of reducing everyday items, and giving customers more price choice for each item they buy.
Finally, she said that it was important to allow customers to retain a sense of fun and treats. Tesco has seen an increased take up of its Clubcard Deals, where customers can exchange Clubcard points for vouchers for days out and other leisure activities.
She said: “It is a way that they can still afford to go out to [places like] Café Rouge. These little luxuries offer huge value to customers.”
She also pointed to deals on Finest meals, and entertainment promotions, as other ways the supermarket is allowing its customers to treat themselves.