CLOSING DOWN: Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis on Wednesday put a fine point on plans announced earlier this month to shutter unprofitable stores. Lewis, who is endeavoring to claw back market share at the British supermarket chain, said he would close 43 units in Britain.

“In January I announced that our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be, and that to protect the future of the business in the U.K., we would close 43 unprofitable stores,” he said.

“The decision to close the stores has been exceptionally difficult to take. I recognize it will affect many hard-working colleagues, our customers and local communities.

“Our priority is to explain what this announcement means for our colleagues and, wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with Tesco. We will continue to serve our customers through other local stores and our dotcom service.”

A Tesco spokesman declined to comment on wire service reports that 2,000 jobs were at risk.

Earlier this month, Lewis announced a major turnaround plan aimed at helping the struggling retailer recover from falling market share, and cleaning up its reputation following an accounting scandal that broke last autumn.

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