WATCH: Take a look inside first new Tesco discount store, Jack’s
- Credit: HARRY RUTTER
A media frenzy surrounded the sneak preview of Tesco’s new value supermarket, Jack’s, when it opened for journalists in Chatteris, a day ahead of the public launch tomorrow.
Chatteris was chosen as the town to host the first Jack’s store in Britain, as it is an area with low incomes and a need for value food, said Tesco bosses, who promised it would deliver the cheapest weekly shopping bills in Britain.
Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, said: “We had a well developed site here in Chatteris with the capability to open it as Jack’s, but we wouldn’t have opened it in this area if we didn’t think there wasn’t a need, that’s true of Chatteris.”
He said that was also true of Immingham, near Grimsby, in Lincolnshire which opens the second Jack’s store tomorrow.
There will be a total of 15 stores across the country, all chosen for their demographics of a local need for value shopping, he said.
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Five of those are existing Tesco sites which are being re-branded while the other 10 are in new settings.
“We promise to be the cheapest in Britain,” he said. “We want to be the cheapest in town.
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“This hasn’t caused any job losses for any Tesco staff and wont negatively impact on any local convenience stores.”
The 12,000 sqft shop is rammed with 2,600 items, of which 1,800 are Jack’s brands, sourced from 350 current Tesco suppliers.
Bulk buying has helped drive down costs, along with no frills stores.
Staff wear their own clothing, with a market stall style apron over the top.
With a bottle of red wine from £2.50, a bunch of carnations at £1.35 and a chicken and bacon pizza for £1.46, bosses say they have spent more than three years fine tuning Jack’s and its prices to make sure eight out of ten products are British and prices are slashed to the bone.
Shoppers can use traditional tills or self serve check outs to buy goods or download a shopper app to scan items on their phone as they add them to their basket.
NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay said: “Positive news for Chatteris with the opening of Tesco’s new big retail idea – Jack’s bringing with it the creation of 25 full-time jobs.
“Jack’s is named after Tesco founder Jack Cohen as the supermarket celebrates it’s 100th anniversary next year.
“It’s key pitch is 8 out of 10 items are British grown, made, or reared.
“They also say features include their lowest prices, bakeries in-store, wider aisles to provide more convenience, staff being free to wear their own clothes rather than a uniform, and healthy snacks by the till.
“Tesco top brass were out in force so I used the opportunity to raise with chief executive, Dave Lewis how the new store plans to support the local community and will follow up further on this in the weeks ahead.
“We also discussed the empty retail unit next door which they would like to be used for a Costa or similar.
“They are hoping for around 2,000 shoppers a day so why not pop along and see it for yourself – good luck to store manager Wayne and his new team for the weeks ahead.”
The Jack’s brand is launched ahead of the Tesco 100 year anniversary next year and is a mark of respect to the store founder Jack Cohen, who launched the worldwide brand with a humble market stall in Hackney in 1919, using his £30 demob money after serving in the First World War.
The market stall grew into a string of shops and in 1946, after visiting America, he was inspired to open his first Tesco supermarket in London, based on the US model.
Black and white footage of a mobbed opening shows a tearful Jack who couldn’t quite believe what he had achieved.
He joined the launch despite being very ill, and died a happy man, later that night.
Mr Lewis said: “Jack had a real instinct, a passion for being close to shoppers, a champion. We are continuing that today with the Jack’s brand.”