Tesco plc is a British-based international grocery and general merchandising retail chain. It has the largest British
retailer by both global sales and domestic market share with profits exceeding £2 billion. In 2008, Tesco
became the world's fourth largest retailer, the first movement among the top five since 2003. Originally specialising in food and drink, it has diversified into areas such as clothing, consumer electronics, consumer financial services, retailing and renting DVDs, CDs, music downloads, Internet service, consumer telecoms, consumer health insurance, consumer dental plans and software.
According to Citigroup retail analyst David McCarthy, "[Tesco has] pulled off a trick that I'm not aware of any other retailer achieving. That is
to appeal to all segments of the market". One plank of this strategy has been Tesco's use of its own-brand products, including the upmarket "Finest", mid-range
Tesco brand and low-price "Value" encompassing several product categories such as food, beverage, home, clothing, Tesco Mobile
and financial services.
Beginning in 1997 when Terry Leahy took over as CEO, Tesco began marketing itself using the phrase "The Tesco Way" to describe
the company's core purposes, values, principles, and goals This phrase became the standard marketing speak for Tesco as it expanded domestically and internationally under Leahy's
leadership, implying a shift by the company to focus on people, both customers and employees.
In order to protect its brand image, and given its expansion plans in Thailand, Tesco has recently been employing a policy
of launching defamation proceedings. In November 2007, Tesco sued a Thai academic and a former minister for civil libel and criminal defamation. Tesco is claiming that the two pay £1.6m and £16.4m plus two years' imprisonment respectively. They have been
alleged to have misstated that Tesco's Thai market amounts to 37% of its global revenues, amongst criticism of Tesco's propensity
to put small retailers out of business.
Tesco's main advertising slogan is "Every little helps". Its advertisements in print and on television mainly consist of
product shots (or an appropriate image, such as a car when advertising petrol) against a white background, with a price or
appropriate text, e.g. "Tesco Value", superimposed on a red circle. On television, voiceovers are provided by recognisable
actors and presenters, such as James Nesbitt, Jane Horrocks, Terry Wogan, Ray Winstone, Neil Morrissey, Martin Clunes, David Jason and Kathy Burke among others.
ASDA is a chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom offering food, clothing and general merchandise products. It became a subsidiary of the American retail giant Wal-Mart in 1999, and is currently the second largest chain in the UK after Tesco, having overtaken Sainsbury's in 2003. It is thought that Asda are currently at the proposal stage of expanding into the Republic of Ireland.
ASDA is Wal-Mart's largest non-U.S. subsidiary, accounting for almost half of the company's international sales. As of
January 2006, there were 21 Asda/Wal-Mart Supercentres, 243 Asda superstores, 37 Asda supermarkets (including town centres),
5 Asda Living stores, 10 George clothing stores and 24 depots (distribution centres) - 340 in total. Asda has 150,000
employees, who it refers to as "colleagues" (90,000 part-time, 60,000 full-time). The company is also engaged in property
development through its subsidiary company, Gazeley Properties Limited.
As a wholly owned division of Wal-Mart, Asda is not required to declare quarterly or half-yearly earnings. It submits full
accounts to Companies House each October.
Unlike other major British Supermarkets, Asda's marketing promotions have been based usually solely on price, with Asda
now advertising itself under the slogan Britain's Lowest Priced Supermarket, 11 Years Running.