Tesco, Britain’s biggest grocery chain, is deep in the weeds.
Last week, the company confirmed that it overstated its first-half profits by £263 million, in addition to reporting lagging revenue and sales figures.
Newly-installed CEO Dave Lewis, who replaced Philip Clarke in July, is now leading the company’s turnaround, and he kicked things off by taking a group of senior executive on a field trip — to Tesco and some other supermarkets.
The former Unilever executive rounded up more than a dozen of Tesco’s top brass and brought them to a remote cottage in Norfolk, The Guardian reports. There, he had the crew shop at a local Tesco as well as competitor supermarkets and cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the food they had bought.
One of Tesco’s problems is that it carries a far larger line of products than some of its rivals, like Aldi or Lidl, whose leaner offerings make them more efficient, and therefore cheaper.
The purpose of the “hands-on” shopping and cooking experience was to put his staff in the shoes of Tesco customers. The group discussed business strategies, too.
“I took my executive team away for a day and a night. It’s been a very frenetic time and I wanted to get to know the people and talk about where the business was and where it was heading, Lewis told the Mail. “Let’s just say it was a damn sight cheaper than most hotels would cost you.”
This is not the first time Lewis has made an effort to personally connect with his employees. In September, the grocery boss invited Tesco workers to email him directly if they had suggestions about how to improve the chain. Despite a flood of responses, the supermarket’s troubles seem to be far from over.
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