Why Tesco won’t refer to Aldi and Lidl as ‘discounters’

Marketing Week 11 Oct 2019 03:09

Tesco’s outgoing chief executive talked semantic strategies, regrets and how “brutal objectivity”  helped him lead one of the UK’s biggest business turnarounds.

‘German discounters’ and Aldi and Lidl have become synonymous in the retail world. But not for Tesco, which will only refer to the competition as ‘German retailers’. And there is strategy behind the semantics.

“The reason I refer to them as German retailers is, actually, every time we talk about them as discounters we do a bit of marketing for them,” Tesco’s outgoing boss Dave Lewis said at the Festival of Marketing. “Actually, given their pricing is not a discount price, it feels like an inaccurate description.”

Lewis was speaking a week after he announced his shock resignation from Tesco, having decided the turnaround he set out to do in 2014 was complete.

Indeed, he leaves a business in rude health. He believes his ability to look at a business with “brutal objectivity” is what saved Tesco from mounting debt and helped to rebuild trust with customers after various scandals pushed consumer confidence to an all-time low of almost zero.

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TescoDave LewisUKAldiLidl