Tesco’s decision to close 90 serve-over, fresh food counters in its larger stores and to provide either a full or flexible counter offer at the remaining 700 trading, is not hugely surprising, according to Catherine Shuttleworth, CEO at shopper marketing agency Savvy.
“These counters are expensive to run and with constant evolution of very good and efficient fresh food to go products means that shoppers are increasingly looking for alternative solutions elsewhere in store,” said Shuttleworth. “This, alongside the insatiable need for convenience from shoppers, means that queuing at counters is a thing of the past. The growth of farmers markets, local producers selling direct, farm shops means that shoppers want to meet producers up close and local. This change in behaviour means that Tesco and other supermarkets need to consider how they present their fresh goods most efficiently,” she said.
Tesco said the move was designed to respond to the way people now shop. “Over recent years, our convenience and online businesses have continued to grow, as have our core grocery and fresh departments in our large stores. Not only are customers shopping in different ways, but we know that they have less time available to shop too – which means they are using our counters less frequently,” the retailer said.