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One of the basic rules of business . . .

. . . is know your customers. Apparently, Tesco . . . forgot

On Wednesday, analysts cataloged the chain's mishaps. Every store carries the same assortment of products no matter its location, and that assortment was wrong more often than it was right, said Jim Hertel, a managing partner at food retail consulting firm Willard Bishop.

Popular items were not swiftly restocked. The chain's private-label products were often more expensive than their name-brand counterparts. And its pricing and promotional strategies were "head scratchers to say the least," Hertel said.

"They were very public about how aggressive they were going to be, and it raised a set of expectations," Hertel said. "Then the stores turned out to be less than what the hype was."

Shoppers were also befuddled by cultural norms imported from Britain that U.S. shoppers sometimes found mystifying, said Jim Prevor, an industry analyst who edits the food retailing website PerishablePundit.

One quarter of the salad selection used to be watercress-based, which is popular in England but far less so in the U.S. The stores had no deli sections where food can be made to order, he said. Prepackaged sandwiches, commonplace to the British, often reminded U.S. shoppers of "something you get out of vending machines," Prevor said.

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