Tesco chiefs to stack shelves to 'reconnect' with customers
Thousands of head office and corporate staff at Tesco UK will be sent to work on the shop floor in the run-up to Christmas as part of an initiative by new boss Dave Lewis.
The scheme will see more than 4,000 employees - including Mr Lewis and other senior executives at the beleaguered retailer - stacking shelves and operating tills to try to reconnect those running the group with the needs of customers.
They have been told they must spend one day every fortnight - on a Thursday or Friday - in a store between now and Christmas.
Those involved will include new finance director Alan Stewart, recruited from Marks & Spencer, who will have to take time out from getting to grips with the accounts, amid a regulatory probe over a £250m overstatement of profit expectations.
Tesco said: "Understanding customers even better is critical to our future success and there is no better opportunity for office colleagues than by supporting our stores in the run-up to Christmas."
The "Feet On The Floor" initiative comes amid a series of profit warnings and sliding sales at Britain's biggest supermarket.
Tesco Ireland said that for many years, in the run up to busy periods such as Christmas and Easter, colleagues from Tesco’s head office in Dun Laoghaire have worked on our shop floors to help customers, stock shelves and pack bags.
"This year we expect even more colleagues to participate and ensure that we are able to give our customers the best possible service this Christmas," a spokeswoman added.
Mr Lewis took over Tesco UK last month following the departure of Philip Clarke - who himself spent four decades at the retailer after starting out on the shop floor.
The new boss wrote to staff at the group's head office and other corporate sites this week to set out details of the new scheme.
The presence of these employees in Tesco stores is not being seen as having a cost-saving effect and will not have an impact on the extra hours being allocated in the run-up to the festive period.
Christmas falls on a Thursday this year so none of the staff will have to endure working on Christmas Eve.