Tesco has officially launched its discount supermarket brand, Jack’s, hoping to match the success of low-price rivals Aldi and Lidl.
CEO Dave Lewis said food and drink items will go on sale at “the lowest possible prices”, as Britain’s largest retailer fires the latest shot in a highly competitive sector, often described as “supermarket wars”.
Over the next six months Tesco will roll out 10-15 Jack’s stores across the UK, with the first two opening on 20 September in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire and Immingham in Lincolnshire.
The Cambridgeshire shop was originally planned for a Tesco site, with further stores opening on a mix of new sites and spots adjacent to Tesco stores, as well as a number of converted Tesco stores.
Tesco named the new brand after their founder, Jack Cohen, who opened his first grocery shop having served in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I, with the company marking its centenary next year.
The retailer is already emphasising its British provenance, pledging 8 out of 10 food items in Jack’s will be grown, reared or produced in the UK. In fresh produce, Jack's will offer a Fresh Five of discounted items on fruit and veg, similar to Aldi's Super 6.
When asked by BBC reporter Emma Simpson if Jack's will be cheaper than Aldi and Lidl, Dave Lewis, Tesco Group chief executive, said: "That's the intention."
Speaking before the launch, Lewis said: "Jack Cohen championed value for customers and changed the face of British shopping. He’s an inspiration for all of us and that same spirit still drives Tesco now.
“It’s fitting that today, we mark the beginning of Tesco’s celebration of 100 Years of Great Value by launching a new brand, and stores bearing his name: Jack’s. Great tasting food at the lowest possible prices with 8 out of 10 products grown, reared or made in Britain.”
Tesco state its new brand will operate a low-cost business model keeping costs and prices down, with no “fancy fixtures of fittings”.
Jack’s will also stock a unique own-brand range alongside familiar Tesco brands and a range of merchandise on a “When it’s Gone, It’s Gone” basis.
Despite Tesco’s pole position among British supermarkets, Jack’s has a long way to go to catch up with its rivals however.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Jack’s isn’t going to make an immediate dent in the competition’s market share – not at the rate of openings announced today. For context, there are already over 1,300 Aldi and Lidl stores across the country and the two have a combined market share of 13.1 per cent, so Jack’s is clearly playing a longer-term game.
“With its heavy Union Jack branding and promises on provenance Jack’s is clearly looking to make its name as a solid British retailer. Nearly half of shoppers try to buy local produce when they can so it could be a savvy move, though it’s still very early days.”