Chief Marketing Officer
Tesco's fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market
El Segundo, California
Simon Uwins, 50, has helped Tesco, the $87 billion British grocer, enter the U.S. market with a new brand: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. Although the company stumbled out of the gate, missing analysts' sales expectations and its own expansion goals, after some tweaking, Fresh & Easy's same-store sales are up 30% this year.
"Small, good-quality discount food stores was an idea that hadn't grown in the States despite its worldwide success. We did a lot of talking to people and built a prototype in a warehouse. But to work it out, we needed to get some stores open and get feedback. Thanks to them, Fresh & Easy today is a much better shopping trip than when it opened. After customers found the stores a little sterile, we warmed up the look, adding more graphics. Family budgets being under pressure, we introduced more promotions and value packs. We're refitting all 120 of our stores with fixtures that are a bit higher in order to bring in 1,000 new products without taking stuff away. Because we're still at an early stage, we're able to make changes across all the stores in about 12 weeks. It's not that at one year or 18 months, we suddenly changed. We built listening and responding into our DNA."
A version of this article appeared in the October 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.