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TescoGate: Angela Mount identifies the impact on BWS of retailer's lack of strategy

Published:  23 October, 2014

Ex-Somerfield wine buyer Angela Mount questions how Tesco's BWS department will function in the longer term as pressure to make trading plans for next year builds.

Ex-Somerfield wine buyer Angela Mount questions Tesco's BWS plans in the longer term as pressure to make trading plans for next year builds.

Mount, who was head buyer at the now defunct Somerfield chain when it underwent a profits warning, has much respect for the Tesco wine team who she says will now be operating under intense pressure.

But, in an article written for today, Mount questions "What is the strategy? Is there a strategy? Where is the direction? Whilst the investigation continues, the buyers and PDMs, I am pretty certain, will be given very regular briefings and told what to do. But I would guess that it's knee-jerk reaction at the moment - in which direction does this massive ship move now? It's like trying to turn a juggernaut on a 10p piece. From where is the direction and strategy for the buying teams coming? Or is there one?"

Mount also queries whether there will be a "volte-face" in the range, and what the impact will be on suppliers.

Tesco wineIndecision in the BWS department will make trading difficult next yearThe lack of strategy at the supermarket, in light of recent events, is also affecting suppliers, argues Angela Mount.

While "everyone will have to step up to the mark to drive the short term plan", she says, decisions impacting on the longer term will be postponed.

She highlights how changes in ranging, pricing, and promotional strategy need to be decided on now, as well as whether there is to be a change of direction in SKU count and development plans. It will even impact on travel and sourcing plans for next year for buyers and product development managers, Mount says.

"There will be a lot of nervous producers and suppliers out there also. Not necessarily the big branded companies, but smaller producers where supermarkets have tied up exclusive deals, or are in the process of doing so - in some cases, such as New Zealand, it is a well-known fact that some three year contracts have been signed and agreed," Mount argues,

If sales patterns shift dramatically and "strategic goalposts" are moved, how will this affect those producers, Mount asks.

To get the full extent of Mount's views, read her latest column here (subscribers only).