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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
Has Tesco become too powerful?
A Tesco lorry
Tesco have announced annual profits of over £2bn, an increase of 20% on the previous year.

The supermarket giant helped achieve the record profits through Tesco Extra stores which combine food and non-food items such as clothes, health products and DVDs.

The tills at Tesco currently take one pound in every three spent in the UK's supermarkets.

What do you think of Tesco's profits? Why do you think they are so successful? What impact do you think Tesco's position is having on other retailers? Why do you shop at Tesco?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Tony, UK
What are your reactions to Tesco's £2bn profit? Is it a force for good, or a company to worry about?

I now boycott Tesco completely as do many other people I know in our area (south London). They have been extremely aggressive in their expansion. We now have a Tesco local and a huge superstore due to open within 10 minutes walk of each other. We have excellent local shops where the owners and employees know local people and chat to them and this creates a strong sense of community... I think we need some town planning to prevent groups like Tesco putting smaller shops out of business before we all end up with no community left to live in.
Bianca Rowan, UK

They are so successful because they give people what they want, and they do it at great prices
Nicholas, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

If Tesco is doing all this legally, then more power to them and I hope they increase profits another 20% next year. They are so successful because they give people what they want, and they do it at great prices.
Nicholas, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

I have never shopped in Tesco and don't intend to. A few years back I asked them if they could provide evidence that they a)supported local farmers b)paid their suppliers the British minimum wage. c)and if child labour is used by their suppliers. I got no response.
Nicola, London

I'm a Tesco regular purely because I don't see the point in going to Waitrose and paying more for brand name products. However, for fresh fruit and flowers I still go to the market because the produce is fresh.

Tesco has managed to become the largest of the stores in the UK because of quality, price and service. However a £2bn well wouldn't it be nice if a company with that size of profit gave a bit more of it back to its loyal customers? Perhaps send all the people who use its loyalty card a bonus depending on the amount they had spent over the year. Now that would be a big company. Hope you read this Tesco.
Arthur, Watford

Tesco has been allowed to build an "aircraft hangar" in the middle of the old market town I come from in Scotland. It is a blot on the landscape and is sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of the town. Yes Tesco is too powerful.
John, Cambridge

If all these people who say they shop at Tesco (or any other supermarket for that matter) for "good quality" and "cheap prices) were to investigate their local shops, (and I don't mean convenience stores but proper Butchers, greengrocers, bakers etc) they would very soon find that Tesco is not cheap and does not offer "good quality". We haven't bought meat from any supermarket for years. It's not hung properly and it's full of water and no flavour.
Gordon, Staffordshire

Oh goody! Perhaps they can invest some of their profits on employing someone to collect their trolleys that they allow people to take from their stores and dump in the streets - most of which seem to end up outside my house!
Sue Woollard, Westcliffe-on-Sea, England

This country makes me laugh. Do we want our companies to be average? Success should be applauded.
Ed, Rutland

There used to be a "vibrant" local high street within walking distance to where I live. The greengrocer, butcher and bakers have closed to be replaced by charity shops after Tesco and Asda moved in. I now have to take my elderly neighbour to Tesco once a week so she can shop, her independence has been lost thanks to greed.
Adrian, Leicester, UK

I personally don't think 'cheaper' food is anything to boast about. When I'm in the UK I'd rather buy my bread at the bakers, fish at the fishmongers and fruit and veg at the greengrocers. No supermarket can offer the personal service these types of shops offer. It's so British to want everything as cheaply as possible. But what price quality?
Jackie , Switzerland

The consumer has the ultimate power
Kirstie Pursey, Croydon, Surrey
Tesco must be doing something right if their customers keep going back to them. If they are providing the customer with what they want then that is simply good business sense. The consumer has the ultimate power - to buy at Tesco, or shop elsewhere.
Kirstie Pursey, Croydon, Surrey

With Tesco you always know you are buying decent goods of decent quality - far exceeding the questionable standards of local shops. Like many have said, Rover gets praised, Tesco criticised - Tesco aren't the ones in administration. As a British consumer, you have a choice - use it.
Martin, Reading, UK

In my part of Norwich we are fighting to resist a Tesco convenience store moving in, where we have an excellent set of shops already. They have so many stores close by, they can exert monopolistic power. I shall never shop with them again and I encourage others to do so to. Consumer power, as demonstrated against McDonalds and Esso, can only grow stronger.
James Savill, Norwich

If Tesco did not hold the power we would be more under Walmart's power. Though it is undesirable to subjects of these multinationals at least we need them to balance one another.
Chris Jones, Southampton

I'm sorry, but as a 22 year old living with his fiancée on a low wage, ethics don't matter one bit to me. Tesco are the cheapest for me, and hence why I will continue to shop there. If that means smaller businesses suffer, then it's of no concern to me.
Ben, Belfast, UK

Why is it that so many people in this country insist food has to be cheap?
Gavin, London
Why is it that so many people in this country insist food has to be cheap? This, of course, is fuelled by the fierce price competition between the big supermarkets. But there's a hidden cost to all this cheap food we demand. By importing more and more of our food through the supermarkets global supply chains, we are slowly eroding our ability to produce our own food. It's time the supermarkets were forced to support British farmers and producers and stop putting profit before everything else!
Gavin, London

Tesco are my favourite mainstream store. They are not always the cheapest but I tend to find the food they produce tasty and quality!
James, UK

Instead of whinging at Tesco making profits at the expense of smaller sellers, how about using the smaller sellers? Nope, thought not. Everyone wants everything for nothing.
Dave, Cheshire

I welcome this news. It's great to have a British company capable of taking on the world. In my view, Tesco seems to have a better moral code than that of WalMart, so I would rather they dominate the market. It's a curiously British thing that people are even debating this success story. Another example of Tall Poppy Syndrome?
Ade, Herts, UK

I've noticed many comments stating that we should congratulate Tesco because they're a British success story! Wow! How can Tesco make such a profit while keeping prices down? I suggest that people seeking to congratulate Tesco read up on the effects supermarkets like Tesco have on farmers and animal welfare alike before they go singing their praises.

When my wife and I travel in Britain and Ireland we shop in Tesco as well as other shops. Tesco is a tidy and efficient operation. Small, lazy, inefficient, and poorly run competitors are going to be displaced unless they offer the consumer the same thing Tesco offers, or something that Tesco does not offer. Tesco's handsome profits indicate that British retail in general is inefficient, and that those who become more efficient will also reap the reward while the consumer benefits.
Michael, California, USA

Tesco must realise that with great power comes great responsibility
V, Oxford
Tesco has become very powerful and needs to be aware of its social responsibilities both at home and abroad. It is great to have a big UK company bringing money and employment to the UK and other countries, but Tesco must realise that with great power comes great responsibility.
V, Oxford

Well done to them. Their online delivery service is second to none. There is nothing worse than dragging small children around a crowded supermarket, so being able to shop online is fantastic. I haven't seen the inside of a Tesco store for months!
Rob, Thatcham, UK

Smaller local grocers go bust as people flock to the supermarkets. Then, when the myopic public finally realise they don't want to slog round a vision of consumer hell for a pint of milk or a paper we find all the smaller corner shops have gone. Never mind - Tesco metro has replaced them, and - surprise surprise - the same stuff is just as expensive as when run by a small time shopkeeper...
Anon, UK

Here's me thinking that Tesco was a business with shareholders and profit targets. What do people really expect?
David Knowles, Stoke, UK

This is a free market economy. Tesco is, at the very least, giving consumers the products that they want at the price they can afford. otherwise, Tesco's success would not be so apparent.
Gary S, London

Tesco add no value whatsoever to the products they sell. They merely squeeze their suppliers unfairly and sell at a huge mark-up. They produce nothing and if enough consumer's attitudes changed then Tesco could be 'redundant'. In a perfect world we should all try to buy from local farms when possible.
Geoff Cook, Poole UK

With all that spare cash, perhaps Tesco should move into the motor industry. I hear a British car manufacturer might be available.
Tom Cunningham, Southampton

Who says there is no profit to be made in making farmers poor?
Alex Stansfield, Haywards Heath

We used to go to another big-name store, but became increasingly put-off by their attitude to customer service. The final straw came when we suffered the humiliation of waiting while various members of staff scrutinised the vouchers that we were using and questioned us about their origins (they were the shop's own vouchers). They finally accepted them but we decided to switch to another big-name store. No problems here, except that it is a bit too cheap and cheerful. Too much white bread and orange cheese. We are now considering driving further to go to Tesco. Tesco has benefited as much from the other supermarkets' failures as its own good practice. Good luck to them and I hope the other stores learn a thing or too.
Catherine, UK

If Tesco is 'too powerful' it is the fault of us, the consumers
Karen, Southampton, England
If Tesco is 'too powerful' it is the fault of us, the consumers. Tesco keep their prices low by putting the squeeze on their suppliers. If the suppliers dare to complain they are dropped by Tesco and blacklisted so no-one else will buy from them. The consumer ignores or dismisses this as they only want cheap products. Only when the consumer is willing to buy with a conscience and give the growers/suppliers value for money will the smaller shops be able to survive. Once Tesco have gained complete domination of the market they will do what any other big business would do - charge what they like! The moral is - if you want small local shops then use them!
Karen, Southampton, England

If Tesco profits have increased, what sort of cutbacks are the farmers having to deal with? Although Tesco offer fair prices, what about fair trade?
George, UK

As their record profits show, the managers are obviously doing something right and should be congratulated for it. However I strongly believe it is a myth that their prices are any lower; they are simply able to use their massive profits for huge advertising campaigns 'telling' us this is the case. I used to spend £100 per week in supermarkets, I now get all my meat, fish, fruit and veg from Shepherd's Bush market and have never once spent over £40.
Isabelle, London

Yes. I used their online shopping and originally it was very good. But they have become complacent. Recently the service is poor and only half the order arrives or the goods are past their sell by dates. When you complain to Customer Services they advise you that you are lucky to get anything at all. I have stopped using them.
Peter, Sutton

We'll envy the high quality, pay-a-bit-more, get-a-lot-more French food-shopping experience
Jim, Daventry, UK
The comments of many of your contributors show that despite the fact we now pay less for our food than ever before, people want lower prices still. Result - every English town will eventually be exactly like all the rest, choice will disappear (all Tesco stock the same lines), and we'll envy the high quality, pay-a-bit-more, get-a-lot-more French food-shopping experience.
Jim, Daventry, UK

Tesco struck the balance between the high quality supermarkets such as Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, and the budget ones such as ASDA and Morrisons.
Matthew Freedman, London, UK

One thing many people are overlooking is the fact that supermarkets are an extremely powerful force in the war against price fixing. There was a time when we thought that the top football clubs were too powerful to be forced to end their price fixing arrangements, but Britain's supermarkets put a stop to this.
Graeme Phillips, Guildford, UK

I think we have been conditioned into thinking that supermarkets are always cheaper. My experience is quite different. Try your local grocer/butcher and you might be pleasantly surprised at what you SAVE (and no, I am not in the food industry).
Graham Ridler, Leeds

If the suppliers don't want to take the slim margins that Tesco offer, why not stop supplying them? I'm sure Tesco would soon re-think it's strategy if it had no milk on it's shelves.
Andrew, Reading, UK

Tesco may be good for the customer on price, but the quality of their food is severely lacking
Tony Razin, UK
Tesco may be good for the customer on price, but the quality of their food is severely lacking. I stick to a supermarket that can give me better quality even if I do have to pay a bit more.
Tony Razin, UK

Tesco always wanted to sell cars in their stores. Go on Tesco! Buy Rover! Buy British!
Will, London, UK (ex South African)

Until recently there was no choice - the only supermarkets were Tesco. As a result the stores were poorly kept, badly stocked, overcrowded and the staff rude and useless. Late last year a new Asda opened, and it's made a bit of a difference. Tesco are so big because they monopolise and saturate the local market and when there's no competition, they let standards slip. They've also been cutting back on staff benefits, for example no subsidised lunches for staff, and no discount on purchases under £3 (clearly designed to stop staff getting a discount on their lunch!).
Tom Payne, London

No trolleys, stale bread, rotting fruit and veg, empty shelves, long queues and badly trained rude staff. Tesco don't care though. They have become too big and powerful monopolising the small rural town High Street so that we can't even vote with our feet.
Sue, Witham, Essex

Rover fails and the usual suspects complain. Tesco succeeds and more complaints. Maybe we should nationalise Tesco so that it needs an injection of a few million of taxpayers' money next year?
Derek S, UK

We should try to learn how Tesco has succeeded, and then apply it to other retailers
Krish, London
It's strange that in this country, when a company does well it is criticised - the opposite of the American way of thinking. Tesco's record £2bn profits should be welcomed as a source of inspiration for other struggling retailers, like Marks & Spencers. We should try to learn how Tesco has succeeded, and then apply it to other retailers. Obviously if Tesco uses anti-competitive practices, then they should be punished, but this has not been the case.
Krish, London

If you don't like Tesco, either as a supplier or as a customer, then don't do business with them. Choose one of their competitors instead.
Colin Smith, Glasgow, Scotland

Whether you like it or not, Tesco has met the needs of its customers and has also diversified into other areas. They can offer cheap discounts as well as expensive quality. British firms like Rover and Marks and Spencer spent far too long trying to appeal to typical British middle class family stereotypes that no longer exist. Tesco is powerful because the opposition allowed themselves to grow weak. If Tesco made cars, Rover would have been finished a decade ago.
Lee, Birmingham

A well run company and successful business should be welcomed in this country. We've seen enough failures recently. Why not produce its future growth abroad, something it's already started to do, and give Britain back another truly global market player. Well done Tesco.
Phil Hicks, London

Those of us who still want to cook with top quality ingredients need to look elsewhere
Brenda, Lancs
I have stopped shopping at Tesco because of the poor quality of their fruit, vegetables and fresh food. I was told by one of their managers that they are only concentrating on ready made meals as "that's what everyone wants." The profit margin on these foods is considerably higher but the nutritional value should be of concern to all of us - full of fats, sugars and salt. Those of us who still want to cook with top quality ingredients need to look elsewhere.
Brenda, Lancs

Why doesn't Tesco buy Rover?
Noel Palmer, Weybridge

I think Tesco and its like have caused huge damage to our society. They have far too much power - so they can abuse their staff and suppliers, they actually reduce employment and choice by forcing closures on smaller, more diverse suppliers and retailers. They also encourage increased traffic and car dependency. We should make every effort to support what is left of our local shops. It may not even cost more.
Peter Wreford, Buzau, Romania

Don't blame Tesco for their profits, these come from shoppers.
G Randall, Herts

Having moved near to a Sainsburys, I've actually found it much cheaper to shop at Tesco online, even including the delivery charge. The food is just so much better and cheaper. Fair play to Tesco, they're providing a great service where others are not and the deserve their profits.
Simon, London

Tesco has made a profit of around 5%, which is not excessive in itself. There is no doubt that it has taken a degree of business strategy to get to this position, whilst there is also no doubt that they could afford to be more ethical in their payment of both staff and suppliers.
Robin Wong, London

Grocery shopping is now cheaper than it has been for years - and you are still complaining!
Sarah Rae, East Sussex
Ah, the great British past-time of knocking the successful. Today Tesco, tomorrow it'll be someone else. Tesco are obviously providing the service and the goods their customers want. Grocery shopping is now cheaper than it has been for years - and you are still complaining! Thank goodness for Tesco, I say!
Sarah Rae, East Sussex

I do think supermarkets are far too powerful; so much so, in fact, I've started to shop elsewhere. I buy my fruit and vegetables from a local greengrocer, my fish from a local fishmonger, and when I find a farmers' market that I can get to at the weekend, I will buy my organic meat and cheese there. For other things I go to QD, Wilkinson, Lidl, Aldi - anywhere but the big supermarkets. I believe supermarkets are seriously damaging farming and food production in this country.
Angela Phinn, Westcliff-on-Sea

Tesco dominates Slough where there are few other alternatives, particularly in the centre. Where do the Monopolies and Mergers commission stand on this kind of thing?
Maggie McDonald, Slough

Tesco's profit levels are 9% of sales, quite a return for a company engaged in a commodity business. We are quick to criticise and sneer when company's get it wrong (M&S) so well done Tesco.
Gerry, Scotland

It sounds like another free market success story which is employing thousands of British people. Aren't all businesses, and people for that matter, out to make money?
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

The growth of Tesco mirrors the increased laziness and gullibility of our nation
Woody, Ribble Valley
Many people enjoy being able to shop for virtually everything under the sun at their local Tesco. I prefer to eat fruit that doesn't bypass that crucial 'ripe' phase, meat that tastes meaty, buy CDs that are worth listening to, wear clothes that have some individuality, and be able to talk to shopkeepers who know something about the product they're selling. The growth of Tesco mirrors the increased laziness and gullibility of our nation.
Woody, Ribble Valley

Well done Tesco. Keep up the good work! We shop at Tesco because of their good quality, good display and good prices. They deserve their relative success which is a result of customer satisfaction without which businesses cannot succeed. So long as they keep clear of the Fair Trade freaks and maintain their reliance on quality supply at the right price it is likely that their success will continue!
Jack Baker, Colchester

I'm utterly bamboozled by this - my nearest Tesco is awful! I go out of my way to the Somerfield down the road.
Sean, Glasgow

Why doesn't Tesco buy Rover?
Noel Palmer, Weybridge, England

Oh stop whining. If you don't like Tesco then don't buy at Tesco. They are only big because people choose to shop there. Words are cheap - vote with your shopping trolley.
John, Southampton

Let me get this straight. A major food retailer unveils ridiculously high profits, when at the same time our farmers and food producers are being ground into the dust by incredibly loss-making prices on their produce? Something smacks of unfairness to me.
Ed, London

I think they are successful because they appeal to the selfishness of the consumer. As long as people only value what the supermarket can do for them personally, then they will continue to rake in profits at the expense of employees, suppliers and the Third world.
Lindsay, UK

Tesco is an efficient company, serving its customers pretty well and winning its profits in many countries, not just the UK. It makes a big profit? So it should. Let's celebrate its success; after all, we have enough failures.
Bob Dee, Bristol, UK

Tesco have achieved this profit because they are good at what they do, but also because they can dictate very stringent (sometimes unfair) conditions on their suppliers. I applaud their business acumen and am pleased that they are a UK company but personally I would like to see them persuading us all to buy more UK products (particularly fresh produce). As they are so dominant they have a duty to 'do the right thing' by the environment and the UK economy.
Bob Pritchard, England

It's got nothing to do with quality or price, it's about the staff
Alex, Herts
It's got nothing to do with quality or price. Their stores are well organised, and tend to be in great locations with plenty of parking. But most of all it's about the staff. I get the sense from Tesco staff that they are REAL people. They have not been indoctrinated to act like machines in a production line. They have been trained to understand the customer and treat them with respect.
Alex, Herts

The idea that Tesco is successful because of good staff relations is laughable. It pays its employees next to nothing but expects them to work every hour God sends, allows them virtually no time off and even sacks them if they don't look busy enough. I know a number of people who have worked for Tesco and had to leave because of the terrible staff relations.
Richard O'Neill, Northallerton

One of the reasons for the increase in Tesco profits is the expansion of its small stores. Same goods at higher prices than at the supermarket but still lower than the competitors.
Andrew, Southampton

Tesco is taking over life - insurance, banking, baby clubs. It's a monster partly of our creation and as such I resent it very much. As soon as I retire I am going to shop about for items as my own little protest against Tesco's one-stop policy.
Jill, East Yorkshire

£2bn profit sounds like an awful lot of money, but on sales of nearly £40bn it's not a huge margin
Tim K, London
Let's not get carried away. £2bn profit sounds like an awful lot of money. But on sales of nearly £40bn it's not a huge margin - most small businesses wouldn't bother for a return like that. And don't forget that it's pre-tax, so the Chancellor will be getting a nice chunk of that for his coffers too.
Tim K, London

Personally I have found Tesco's food offerings quite poor in quality - salad is always soggy and meat quite often is off, just to name a few issues. Since it is the only supermarket in our town, we have no choice but to shop there.
Kirsten, Kent

Local, small scale shops such as green grocers and butchers offer much higher quality produce at prices which are very reasonable. Don't just try a brand you have never heard of, try a local shop you have never been to. You might be pleasantly surprised! It might even be a taste sensation.
Mark Harvey, Norwich

Tesco and other large supermarkets are clearly abusing their power. They kill off the local shops with their super size supermarkets and then what do they do? They open up a 'local' store with items being more expensive than the small independent retailer. Now they are killing off the supplier too by squeezing their profits. Will they be going into farming as well?
Wai, London

My local high street is a ghost town thanks to Tesco's. They have targeted every small business forcing them to close; now we just have banks, restaurants and charity shops. Do people really want to see their towns destroyed?
Steve, Purley, England

Ultimately they are a business to make money
Russ, Warwick, UK
Clean stores, value for money, quality, product guarantees, large choice, cheaper petrol and good service. I bought an iron for £4.99 that lasted me for over a year before I passed it on to a friend who continues to use it now. I can't fault Tesco and ultimately they are a business to make money. They've just done it very well.
Russ, Warwick, UK

Whilst it may be good news for Tesco, it's not always such good news for the ordinary man in the street. Everyone loves low prices, but these price wars force suppliers to reduce their costs to levels that put the small local firms out of business. I used to work as a chicken plucker, but due to financial constraints was made unemployed since the supermarket giants were getting their produce cheaper elsewhere. I felt like choking the chicken, not plucking it!
Jon, Great Yarmouth, UK

They have forgotten Cohen's policy of "pile em high and sell em cheap". They no longer stock many low price items, which are all most pensioners can actually afford, me among those pensioners. We don't have high, or even medium incomes, therefore it is most unfair for Tesco to ignore the older generation. I think Cohen would be rather unhappy. My contact with Tesco goes back to when I shopped there for my mother. The first Tesco shop was Cohens in St Albans and I remember it well.
Lorna Edwards, St Albans

These comments inevitably reflect how the views of shoppers differ from those of employees and suppliers. How many shoppers think the low prices they enjoy are, in effect, subsidised by low wages and low margins? If so, are they prepared to pay more, bearing in mind that higher prices could just be used to boost profits?
Geoff Kerr, Todmorden, UK

Consumers shop where they feel they are getting value for money for items they are happy to buy. If Tesco is providing value for money and products people want to buy, their profits will reflect that.
Claire, Aylesbury, Bucks

It would be great if they would pass some more of their profit to their suppliers and staff
Paul, Nottingham, UK
Good, clean, bright, decent aisle spacing, cheerful, choice, quality, pride in their brand. It would be great if they would pass some more of their profit to their suppliers and staff.
Paul, Nottingham, UK

Great to see a top UK company making big profits. This provides money to the exchequer for the schools, hospitals and services we all need so badly.
Mark, Bournemouth

It's typical of this country to lend support to a failing company like Rover and then criticise a success like Tesco.
Stuart Ferris, Kilmarnock

If you don't like it, shop elsewhere! Small, independent shops, farmer's markets, organic vegetable boxes delivered to your home - there's plenty of choice!
Rachel, Brighton

Instead of airing this kind of news, why not see how people react when you say "Organic Farmers profits up 10%" or something. It's very tiresome to hear of some company adding another 10 storeys to their already enormous piles of cash. What on earth do they do with it all whilst the farmers are surviving by erecting billboards in their fields and handouts from the EU?
Jono Taylor, Bristol, UK

I have talked to people who work in Tesco's near me, and they seem to be happy enough in their job. They are treated well by their management, and paid above the average wage for working in a supermarket. The shops are clean, the management willing to talk to the public. You do that, people will always return and spend money.
Robb Dunphy, Dublin, Ireland

Tesco's provides what the public want at a price they are prepared to pay at a time they want to pay it. Now tell me that the 'consumer' is not king.
John, France

My local 7-11 shop was recently taken over by Tesco. The quality and choice is now far better e.g. freshly baked bread every day and the customer service is way better. Oh, and of course it's now become really popular. Their success is down to meeting customer needs - simple as that.
Matt F, Bristol, UK

Before decrying these profits, people should realise their pensions are invested in companies like Tesco. If their profits fall, so does your pension. Simple. At the end of the day, any company can challenge Tesco on price, quality or anything else. The fact that Tesco is getting stronger and stronger only goes to show how good they are in comparison to the competition. Why is it that British people like a failure more than a success?
Mike, Brighton

Tesco is helping to create a country of high street clones
Dan, London
Tesco's success comes at a price. It's nice to have cheap prices and shelves that are full. But look at the bigger picture and you'll see all the traditional stores selling local produce are disappearing at an alarming rate. Tesco is helping to create a country of high street clones. Everywhere will end up looking the same.
Dan, London

Tesco has proved it is a success. Maintaining that success will prove to be the hardest task of all. They can command massive purchasing power, but with that power comes responsibilities. If they compromise quality over price, insist on paying minimum wage and disrespect staff, squeeze producers too hard in the pursuit of more profit, then customers will vote with their feet and the empire that Tesco have built can come crashing down around them.
Paul H, Essex

It could be detrimental to small food businesses but as I've realised, the quality of the fruit and veg at my local greengrocers is far superior and much cheaper.
Paul, Leeds, UK

It is very worrying that Tesco seem to have the monopoly in my area. I had an issue with Tesco and they failed to enter into any correspondence. They have also succeeded in closing all other supermarkets, butchers, bakers and fuel stations in this area. Tesco only contacted me with a standard letter once I had cut up my credit card and sent it back to them.
Christine Martin, Camborne, Cornwall

I heard a commentator on the radio yesterday saying that Tesco sources some of its apples from an African company that pays its apple pickers 35p an hour - about the price Tesco charges for one single apple. Their huge profits don't surprise me.
Ray, UK

If it has become too powerful then it is thanks to the customers who shop there
Matthew, London, England
If it has become too powerful then it is thanks to the customers who shop there. Don't complain Tesco et al are destroying local high street traders - you the consumer are the ones who at fault. It doesn't matter if you just buy a pint of milk or a gallon of petrol, you fund these organisations and give them the power to undercut the opposition and demand lower prices from suppliers to keep prices on the shelves low.
Matthew, London, England

Having shopped once at Tesco off the back of its TV adverts, thinking I'd spend less, well actually I spent more and got less than I would have from my usual supermarket. So perhaps we all just take it for granted that it offers the best value, when it doesn't - a bit like paying over a hundred pounds for a no frills airline flight that you could have got cheaper on a 'proper' airline had you bothered to enquire!
Joseph, UK

I don't shop at Tesco any longer. Most stores are too big and it takes twice as long to negotiate round them as their rivals' stores. However my main concern is that if we all continue to worship at the shrine of the mighty Tesco with our hard-earned cash, we will contribute to the downfall of all their competitors and hence the end of choice.
Karen B, London, UK

Well done Tesco! This is excellent news for British business and hopefully Tesco can use the same formula to take on the likes of WalMart in the US.
Simon, London, UK

I shop at Tesco because I get low prices, good quality and good customer service
AR, Edinburgh, Scotland
I shop at Tesco because I get low prices, good quality and good customer service. When I go to other local stores I generally get none of these - if they go out of business then good riddance to them.
AR, Edinburgh, Scotland

I don't shop at Tesco on principle; I believe they are destroying our towns and cities, our agriculture and our whole way of life. People should realise what they are sacrificing when they jump at bargain prices without worrying how they are achieved.
Bill Wilcox, UK

Tesco is very powerful. However do not underestimate the power that is in the hands of the customer. If you are concerned that Tesco does not treat its staff, suppliers and producers equitably, then you should choose carefully where you shop and what you buy. Cheap prices are usually bought on the back of somebody else's suffering and misery.
Jeremy, Kettering, England

I shop at Tesco for basics because the service and the choice are better than the competition but when their standards drop I will shop elsewhere. I already buy bread at Somerfield and meat at the butcher because the quality is better. Well done to Tesco, they are a success, but other suppliers should stop grumbling, they can compete by offering better goods or service.
Kathy, UK

You can't argue with the profits which are good for business but I personally don't shop in Tesco as I feel the quality of the fresh food is not as good
Alan, Scotland
You can't argue with the profits which are good for business but I personally don't shop in Tesco as I feel the quality of the fresh food is not as good as I can get elsewhere and they do not have as good a choice as other supermarkets.
Alan, Scotland

Yes, I believe Tesco is too big and powerful. But the general public are greedy and stupid and don't care about Tesco's bullying of suppliers and farmers - as long as they get to save a few pennies in their wallets at the end of the day.
Paul, London

We used to shop at Sainsbury's because they used to have good quality at reasonable prices. We then switched to Tesco because we found that they have better quality at more reasonable prices. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a fickle customer. If tomorrow I find that I get value for money from another store (Sainsbury/Asda/Waitrose etc) then I'll shop there, but until then I'm sticking with Tesco!
Anon, London

I have stopped shopping at Tesco. The shelves are always half-empty and there is never anyone around if you need help. Fresh produce always looks past its best!
Julia Mothersole, Bury St Edmunds

Tesco is great so good luck to them. They have everything I need in terms of food shopping. Our one also has free parking, petrol station, and now a car wash! Can't beat that.
Neil, Milton Keynes

If Tesco provide high quality goods it is because someone else took care to make them that way, and if the prices are low, it is because that someone cut their margins, not Tesco. Don't get me wrong, UK supermarkets are great (compared with the choice here in Bavaria), but the monopolies commission should start taking a look. Tesco are top of the food chain in more ways than one.
Richard, Munich

I don't think a food company should be allowed to make high profits like that
Ibrahim Hamza, Harlow, Essex
I don't think a food company should be allowed to make high profits like that. That profit comes from ordinary people who work very hard to earn their money. All the money should be given back to people who need it!
Ibrahim Hamza, Harlow, Essex

Maybe Tesco should use this £2bn to buy out MG Rover and make a success where BMW and others could not.
Dominic, Plymouth, UK

This can only be a good thing, because success brings opportunities. This should be hailed as welcome news for Britain given the recent fate of another established UK company.
Andy Bird, Cheshire, UK

Tesco are so successful because they sell things that people want at prices that people can afford to pay - hardly rocket science. I would be delighted to travel to small local shops for my groceries - and if my wage had soared at the same shocking rate that my council tax, water, electricity and gas have, I could afford to in a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce!
Mr M Thompson, Bradford, England

Yes, Tesco are too powerful, but only because people are too lazy to support their local shops and shop in the high street and their local markets, where ironically the food is of better quality and much cheaper than the likes of Tesco. The vast majority of people in this country cannot complain about the demise of their town centres and local food producers when week in, week out, they give their money to the supermarket giants.
Charles Saywell, Edinburgh, Scotland

Yes, Tesco does have too much power. It is draining the life out of many village communities and driving many farmers and producers of goods to the edge of their profit margins whilst theirs soar. What annoys me is the way that they try and get their claws into as many lines of business as possible. Tesco should stick to selling groceries and not try and be a bank, a phone company, an insurance broker or a pharmacist. I despise Tesco yet I still shop there! Help!
Stephen, Reading

Tesco is making huge profits at the expense of farmers and suppliers
Jackie, Buckingham
Tesco is making huge profits at the expense of farmers and suppliers. They are not doing it to provide a service to customers they are doing it to line their pockets. I wish farmers in this country would make a bigger effort to form some sort of co-operative where they can provide excellent products and make more money themselves. I do not shop at Tesco.
Jackie, Buckingham

It's interesting that when an inefficient company like Rover performs badly there are calls to bail it out, and then when Tesco, a massively successful company, does well there are calls saying it's too big and should be shot down!
Kamal, London, UK

If you want local shops and decent food from local suppliers then vote with your wallet and supply them. We've been moving more and more of our shopping to local suppliers and ultimately saving money because we're not buying meat that curls up into a tiny ball the instant it hits the pan.
Mark Lowes, Somerset

I'm a Tesco customer for a good reason - value for money. However, that value is compared to other supermarkets. I still believe we're living in 'rip-off' Britain.
David Boiardi, London

The reason for Tesco's success is they have provided jobs to people where they are visibly getting a share of the profits and for that they are getting the public support. Unlike a lot of competitors who continually champion the shareholders above all else. This I think has a psychological impact on its shoppers that at least in some way they are not only getting a good deal but the person at the till is too. The end result is everyone generally feels happy to be at Tesco.
Peter B, UK

On a recent trip to Hungary I was shocked at how visible Tesco was. The concern is that Tesco will damage their local and small scale retailers to the detriment of their country.
David, Cheltenham

We bail out companies that fail and criticise success. The British way.
David, Halkirk, Scotland

Full marks to Tesco on their profit margins. However, the public cannot complain when it is their own gullibility which has made them grow. One-stop shopping has become the norm.
James, Bucks

I don't think Tesco is pushing anyone out
Karl Mabert, Beckenham
Can you really say they are forcing out smaller traders when the smaller supermarkets total 25% of the market? I see plenty of corner shops and late-night convenience stores. They are there, they are thriving. I don't think Tesco is pushing anyone out.
Karl Mabert, Beckenham

They are doing a great job. After the Rover thing, we should be celebrating the fact that a UK company can make such good progress. It's also worth noting that Tesco also reward their staff quite nicely too.
CH, York

£2bn represents around a 5% profit. I think that is quite reasonable. They sell huge volumes because they are good at what they do. Around 40% of Tesco floor space is abroad and that money comes right back here, at last a UK company that knows what they are doing!
Steve, Harlow

With all this profit, why don't they buy MG Rover? They have the perfect pedigree - good management that knows what its customers want, attention to price, a strong purchasing department, great marketing skills, wonderful service and from what I see, a good and contented workforce.
Piers Catton, Blandford Forum

If you're concerned, shop locally
Vic Bannister, Scarborough
If you're genuinely concerned about the power of these retail empires, shop locally and keep your community alive. Every little helps.
Vic Bannister, Scarborough

I think it's brilliant, let's be proud of this successful UK company. In the general election maybe we should vote Tesco and not the usual rubbish
Stuart Waterhouse, Yeovil

I don't know about anyone else, but I have always found Tesco to be one of the most expensive supermarkets around. I guess they have a great marketing team and are far more skilful at fooling the public than their competitors.
Maxine H, London

Of course they are too powerful. Big companies run this country, not the government. They may provide cheap food but should food be cheap? No, we should be paying a fair price for quality local products.
Rachel, Northampton

It's a horrible state of affairs when Tesco can boast a £2 billion profit and at the same time drive dairy farmers out of business by not insuring they are paid enough for their milk production. It's about time the government stepped in and put a halt to the abuse by major corporations.
Mark, Wales

So Tesco's profits continue to soar whilst Rover goes to the wall. We really have become a nation of shopkeepers
Martin Starkie, Clitheroe, Lancs, UK

Does it matter? They're doing a good job!
Daniel, Kent, UK

I suspect that many of those who are now saying that Tesco is too big are the same people that put it in its position of market leader by taking advantage of its prices.
Martin Dunkley, France

My main gripe with Tesco is their insatiable desire to establish their mini-supermarkets. If they don't have a supermarket in a town, they'll take over any small shop or plot of land without any regard for the impact on the local economy. They have eliminated choice. Where I live there are now two mini Tesco within a half mile radius, and the traffic congestion created by the one near where I work is ridiculous.
Peter, UK

Companies become strong and then are overtaken by competitors. Sainsbury's was good in the 70s, Marks and Spencer in the 80s and Tesco now. Like IBM being overtaken by Microsoft, these things happen in a free market and governments do have the ability to interfere if things do go too far.
Al, W'Ton, UK

I believe that Tesco has succeeded where others have failed is because of its efficient and competent management
Saqib Khan, London, U
I believe that Tesco has succeeded where others have failed is because of its efficient and competent management. The stores are always tidy, clean, well stocked and the majority of the staff are cordial and well behaved with the customers. It is a success story of the British industry and should be congratulated for its performance.
Saqib Khan, London, UK

In this, as in everything, we should celebrate success and move swiftly on from the British disease of supporting the underdog and reinforcing failures.
Keith Collins, Aylesbury

As a shareholder and customer all I have to say is 'well done'!
Martin, Colchester, Essex

Fact: Tesco is successful because lots of people shop there.
Fact: This means more small businesses go under.
Fact: People don't like to see small businesses go under and so bemoan Tesco being successful.
Fact: People don't actually want to pay the extra to shop in these smaller shops and therefore, more people choose to shop at Tesco. It's simple economics. People put money over principle. Get over it.
Rich, Coventry, UK

I changed to using Tesco as my old supermarket seemed to be run more for the sake of the store than for the sake of the customers. No joints of meat on a Sunday, aisles full of stock to be loaded on shelves, blocking the way etc. Tesco's seem to be more customer oriented.
John Fairlie, Bristol, UK

Tesco profits break through £2bn
12 Apr 05 |  Business
Is Tesco too big?
12 Apr 05 |  Business


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