From one man’s Hackney market stall to a company serving fifty million customers in
thirteen countries every week, this is the extraordinary story of one of Britain’s most
remarkable companies. Related by those who themselves featured in it – Tesco’s own
employees – it presents a fascinating social history as well as an epic business venture.
Drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with Tesco staff, collected by National Life
Stories at the British Library, these personal accounts from across the ranks and decades
are frank, insightful, sometimes funny and, above all, very human.
How, then, did Tesco grow from Jack Cohen’s barrow in Hackney to the hypermarkets in
Hungary, the neighbourhood stores in Nevada and a home-delivery service serving
customers from Cheshire to the Czech Republic? Why and how did Tesco survive and
(mostly) thrive where other British companies stalled? And what impact has Tesco’s
success had on its employees and consumers? Here is Tesco’s authentic story, carefully
researched and engagingly written by Sarah Ryle, told for the first time by the people at
the very heart of the business.
Published:28 March 2013
Sarah Ryle works in Tesco’s Corporate Affairs team. She read history at Oxford University
and trained as a journalist on a local evening newspaper in Bath. She was a business and
economics reporter at the Guardian for two years, and retail correspondent and consumer
affairs correspondent at the Observer for eight years. She lives in London.