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Tue 9th Dec 2014 - Tesco hires 6,000 staff to improve service
Tesco hires 6,000 staff to improve service: Tesco has hired 6,000 new staff to improve service as it implements new procedures. The company stated: “In recent weeks we have implemented new policies and procedures which will govern our commercial income activities and taken actions to invest in and improve our customer offer. In our interim results on 23 October we highlighted that full year profitability would be impacted by actions we may choose to take and that the commercial income overstatement would affect second half results as we revisited our plans with the new management team. Our new commercial approach will underpin stronger long-term relationships with our suppliers, benefiting customers, whilst at the same time ensuring that revenue recognition is transparent and appropriate. We have retrained our entire team and begun the cascade with our suppliers. In addition, we have invested further in service, with more than 6,000 new colleagues in store, increased product availability on key lines and invested in price – all aimed at enhancing our customer offer. The early feedback from customers is encouraging. On the 8 January we will share more detail about the measures we plan to take to improve the competitiveness of the UK customer offer and to strengthen the balance sheet. On the basis of the changes and investments made to date we now anticipate group trading profit for the financial year ending February 2015 will not exceed £1.4 billion.” Chief executive Dave Lewis said: “Tesco is focused, and will continue to focus, on doing the right thing for customers. This means running our business in a way that everything we do creates sustainable value. Whilst the steps we are taking to achieve this are impacting short-term profitability, they are essential to restoring the health of our business. We will not engage in short term actions that compromise in any way our offer for customers. We still have much to do but are making good progress in developing our plans to improve the long-term positioning of the Group and I will share more of that on the 8 January. Our priorities remain restoring competitiveness in the UK, protecting and strengthening the balance sheet and rebuilding trust and transparency. For now, all the Tesco team is focused on delivering the best Christmas for customers.” Last month, Propel reported that Tesco Family Dining Group, which operates 25 Decks carveries and cafes within the company’s supermarkets, is taking over another 266 in-store cafes operated previously by third parties. A total of “around £9m” has been paid for the portfolio, with the takeover phased to be complete at the end of November. The annual accounts reported 22 new cafes and restaurants have been opened within Tesco supermarkets in the current financial year that started on 23 February 2014 – there were just three sites operated by the division at the start of the financial year. The company’s first 42 weeks to 23 February 2014 saw turnover of £900,000, but administrative expenses of £2,036,000 produced a loss of £1,559,310. Meanwhile, at the start of this month, Harris + Hoole, the coffee shop business in which Tesco owns a stake, reported an operating loss of £11.2m in the 52 weeks to 23 February 2014 – the operating loss was £5.4m for the 38 weeks previous. Turnover was £6,648,270, compared to £785,186 in the 38-week period. The company opened 18 shops and closed one in the period, taking site numbers to 30. It stated: “The operating loss reflects the early life cycle stage of a number of the shops open at the end of 52 weeks and also the early development costs of the business.” In August 2014, Harris + Hole announced the closure of six shops in addition to one shop previously announced.
easyHotel reports turnover and profit boost: easyHotel, which operates managed and franchised sites, has reported sales up 14% to £17.3m (2013: £15.2m) in the year to 30 September. The overall profit from operations was £1.3m (2013: £1.3m) excluding one off costs and share based payments. The company has net assets of £32.8m (2013: £3.4m), including cash of £24.3m (2013: £0.9m). Its owned hotel rooms increased by 195 in the year to 287, with expansion at Old Street, London and second owned hotel opening in Glasgow in January 2014. A third owned hotel, easyHotel Croydon, opened last month with 103 rooms. There are now 20 easyHotels operating in 13 cities within nine countries, with two franchised hotels scheduled to open H1 2015. Four further pipeline Benelux hotels are subject to planning and financing Chief executive Simon Champion said: “The Group has made good progress during the year with strong performance from our owned hotels and across our franchised hotels. Current trading is healthy and we remain confident on the outlook for 2015, particularly given our recent refurbishment investment at Old Street and other initiatives that are underway. easyHotel is a strong brand with international recognition. Our expansion plans are taking shape and we are confident that we can secure owned properties for conversion in key European gateway cities, as well as expand the franchised estate. Our focus remains on delivering a high return on capital for shareholders, as well as providing excellent value for our customers.”

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