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Tesco - General merchandise transformation

Four Group was delighted to work on this award-winning project - a complex and challenging roll-out of new store concepts and supply chain management

Tesco - General merchandise transformation


The award winning project* was led by Four Group's Stuart Howell, who was seconded to work with Tesco as General Merchandise Property Buying Manager. The role was to support the Category Buying Manager, Paul Williams, on one of Tesco’s largest and most challenging transformation programmes across their retail estate.

After reviewing customer shopping trends and store layout, Tesco embarked on a large-scale reinvention of their general merchandise (GM), shopping experience and store layout. Trends, especially due to the internet, informed the retailer that creating a differentiator between groceries and GM was needed. Customers wanted a ‘different’ shopping experience; to be able to browse products rather than search for an item on more ‘traditional’ supermarket shelving. Our client required:

  • Successful delivery of the new store concept across the UK
  • Roll-out within an 18 month period from a standing start
  • Establish a completely new delivery operating model and supply chain to deliver the project

Our role:

Stuart’s role was to support the Procurement Category Director and Category Buying manager to define volume demand, procure shop-fit equipment and manage supply chain relationships. This required the following services: supply chain analysis, matrix procurement definition, scenario planning, and cost modelling, to name a few.

In particular, Stuart was instrumental in managing and advising on the new procurement route, which enabled the efficiency of the 240 store roll-out. By consolidating suppliers delivering fixtures and fittings ready for the new store layouts to one central hub, Tesco was able to cut vehicles travelling to stores by 66%. Not only did this result in a cost-saving, it was also part of Tesco’s green initiative.

Key outcome:

The project was mobilised in a period of 6 months and delivered 100 projects in less than a further 9 months. The team was awarded “Procurement Leaders Award for External Collaboration”, which was down to their engagement with the supply chain, maximising third party experience and excellence, alongside delivering the programme.

The project fundamentally changed Tesco's business procurement and delivery strategy, minimising customer disruption and increasing underlying GM sales. Most importantly, it saved Tesco in excess of £21 million pa.

"I was impressed with Stuart's continued development, showing great resilience in what was a stretching change project. Stuart showed a strong ability to adapt his style accordingly, whilst working with a large variety of senior stakeholders from across the business. I could always depend on him to deliver. His enthusiastic and collaborative approach has been a pleasure to work with” 
Andrew Isted, GM Transformation Property Programme Manager

*Procurement Leaders presents one of the leading Awards within procurement across the world. For more information, view: www.procurementleaders.com / www.procurementleadersawards.com.