Tesco persists with Jack's format as plans new store

FILE PHOTO: A company logo is pictured outside a Tesco supermarket in Altrincham northern England, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - Tesco TSCO.L, Britain's biggest supermarket group, plans to launch a 13th Jack's store, indicating commitment to growing the discount format despite pulling the plug on a store last year.

The group said it wants a Jack's to take over a vacant Mothercare MTC.L store in Kingston, Hull, in northern England, and has submitted plans to the local council.

“We are always looking for potential sites for new Jack’s stores and these applications are part of this process,” said a Tesco spokeswoman.

Plans for the latest opening were first reported by industry publication, The Grocer.

Chief executive Dave Lewis launched the Jack’s format, named after Tesco’s founder Jack Cohen, with great fanfare in September 2018 at a store in Chatteris, eastern England.

Taking the fight to Aldi and Lidl, the store mimicked the German-owned discounters’ focus on simplicity and own-brands to keep costs and prices down - a strategy that has seen them grab 13.6% of Britain’s grocery market versus Tesco’s 26.9%.

But Jack’s progress has been slow and doubts about the future of the format were fueled in September last year when the Jack’s store in Rawtenstall, north west England, was closed and turned back into a Tesco.

Lewis is due to leave Tesco in October after six years as CEO and be succeeded by Ken Murphy, a former executive at healthcare group Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA.O.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young