History

1919

Jack Cohen began selling surplus groceries from a stall in the East End of London in 1919. He left the Royal Flying Corp at the end of the Great War and used his demob money to buy the first day's stock. At the end of the first day Jack Cohen made a profit of £1 on sales of £4.

1924

The first own-brand product sold by Jack was Tesco Tea - before the company was called Tesco. The name comes from the initials of TE Stockwell, who was a partner in the firm of tea suppliers, and CO from Jack's surname.

1929

Jack Cohen opened the first Tesco store in Burnt Oak, Edgware, north London. The store sold dry goods and the first ever branded product, which, unsurprisingly, was Tesco Tea!

1934

Jack Cohen bought a plot of land at Angel Road, Edmonton, north London to build a new headquarters and warehouse. It was the first modern food warehouse in the country and introduced new ideas for stock control.

1937

The 1930s saw Jack Cohen growing the business by buying stores in the expanding London suburbs.

1947

Tesco Stores (Holdings) was floated on the stock exchange with a share price of 25 pence.

1948

Jack Cohen decided to venture into self-service following a research visit to North America. The first of these new stores opened in St Albans, Hertfordshire in 1948 with a mixed reaction from customers at first. The picture shows colleagues delivering goods to the store.

1955

We bought 19 Burnards stores. Between 1955 and 1960 over 500 new stores were purchased.

1958

The first supermarket was opened in Maldon, Essex. The store included a counter service selling cheese, butter and meats weighed by sales assistants.

1960

We started selling household goods and clothing in our stores across the UK. In the same year, we acquired 212 branches of Irwin stores in the north of England.

1963

Green shield stamps were introduced. Stamps collected at the checkout could be exchanged for a range of goods from a catalogue.

1968

The term 'superstore' was first used when we opened our store in Crawley, West Sussex. It was 40,000 sq. ft. in size and sold food and non-food goods. In the same year, we bought the Victor Value chain.

1973

We opened a new head office in Cheshunt, called New Tesco House.

1973

We opened our first petrol stations at major sites across the UK.

1977

In 1977 the Green Shield Stamps were phased out and replaced by a major price-cutting initiative called 'Checkout at Tesco'.

1979

Our founder, Jack Cohen, passed away.

1982

For the first time, we introduced computerised checkouts to our stores.

1982

In an effort to boost sales, Sir Ian MacLaurin launched 'Checkout 82', cutting prices between 3% and 26% on 1,500 food items.

1985

After a successful period as our Managing Director, Sir Ian MacLaurin became Chairman of Tesco.

1985

We launched our own label healthy eating range of products, the first major retailer in the UK to do so.

1989

Dudley Moore starred in a high profile ad campaign highlighting our great range of high quality products.

1989

Tesco staff raised £2 million for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

1992

Computers for Schools was launched. Since 1992 the scheme has raised £185 million worth of equipment for schools around the UK.

1992

The first Tesco Metro store opened in Covent Garden. This new format was around 10,000 sq.ft. in size and offered products tailored to the local market with a strong emphasis on lunchtime snacks.

1993

Tesco Value was launched to offer our customers a wider choice of products at a great price.

1993

The Every Little Helps strap line was launched. The new campaign attracted 1.3 million new customers between 1993 - 1995.

1994

The first two Tesco Express stores opened in London. Within a very short time space 13 more had been opened.

1994

We became the first UK retailer to offer customers a service commitment at the checkouts through the 'One in Front' initiative.

1995

We entered the Hungarian market in 1995 through the acquisition of existing retailer S-Market’s 26 stores in the north-west of Hungary. This was our first international business.

1995

The Dotty 'Every Little Helps' campaign was launched. Different versions of the adverts ran from 1995 - 2004.

1995

The Tesco Clubcard was launched and attracted nearly 5 million customers in the first year. With the introduction of Clubcard, Tesco overtook Sainsbury's in market share.

1996

The UK business started 24 hour trading to help our customers to shop whenever they wanted to.

1996

We entered the Czech Republic in 1996 through the acquisition of K-Mart stores. The purchase included a number of department stores.

1996

We entered the Slovak market in 1996 through the acquisition of seven K-Mart department stores.

1997

We opened our first Extra format store in Pitsea, Essex.

1997

Tesco Personal Finance launched. New saving accounts exceeded all expectations and over 300,000 applications were received.

1997

Tesco veteran Terry Leahy became CEO and introduced a new core purpose for the business.

1997

We entered Poland in 1997 through the acquisition of 31 Savia stores in the south of the country. The business was originally owned by current Tesco Polska CEO Ryszard Tomaszewski.

1997

We entered Ireland in 1997 with the acquisition of Associated British Foods and its subsidiaries.

1998

We entered Thailand operating under the Tesco Lotus brand.

1998

We developed and launched our Finest range, which was aimed at filling the gap in the market for our more affluent customers.

1999

Mobile phones went on sale in our UK stores and Tesco became the largest retailer of pre-paid mobile phones.

1999

Our business in South Korea opened in 1999 in partnership with Samsung, operating under the Homeplus brand. In September Tesco agrees to sell Homeplus.

2000

Tesco.com was launched. Since 2000 Tesco.com has grown to serve over 500,000 customers each week.

2001

We launched the Florence and Fred clothing range.

2002

Since entering Malaysia in 2002 we have opened 47 stores across the country with a combined floor space of almost 4 million sq ft. We operate in the country in partnership with local conglomerate, Sime Darby, who hold a 30% stake in the business.

2002

We bought the UK's second largest convenience store chain, One Stop.

2003

We entered the Turkish market in 2003 through the acquisition of five Kipa stores.

2003

Tesco entered Japan. In August 2011, we announced our decision to sell our business there.

2004

We entered China in 2004 and have built up a network of more than 100 stores across provinces along the Eastern Seaboard.

2004

A new 'Every Little Helps' campaign was launched.

2006

Tesco Direct, our catalogue business, was launched. The catalogue provides an extensive range of electrical appliances, home furnishings, toys and much more.

2006

The first ever Tesco dotcom-only store was opened in Croydon to better serve our customers in the London area.

2006

Green Clubcard points were launched in the UK and in 12 months carrier bag usage fell by 1 billion.

2006

We expanded in Poland with the acquisition of the retailer Leaderprice. The 220 stores purchased were converted into Tesco stores.

2007

In 2007 we entered the US under the name Fresh & Easy, opening stores in southern California, Arizona and Nevada. We operated nearly 200 stores and employed over 5,000 people. In March 2011 we opened our first stores in northern California around San Francisco and the Bay Area. In September 2013, Fresh and Easy was sold to YFE Holdings Inc.

2007

We bought Scottish garden centre chain Dobbies.

2008

We entered India, setting up a wholesale business and an exclusive franchise agreement with the Tata Group who operate Star Bazaar hypermarkets.

2009

We set out our plans to build a full service retail bank after buying out the RBS 50% stake in Tesco Personal Finance. Following the acquisition, Tesco Personal Finance became known as Tesco Bank.

2009

Clubcard was re-launched in the UK with a £150 million investment offering customers the chance to double up their vouchers.

2010

Tesco opened the world's first zero-carbon supermarket in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire.

2010

A new Clubcard app was launched in the UK, which gave customers a new way to swipe their cards in store.

2011

Philip Clarke took over as Group CEO in March 2011. Before this, he was Asia, Europe & IT Director. Philip joined the business in 1974 and held a number of roles in store operations, commercial and marketing.

2011

The Alzheimer's Society were our charity of the year in the UK. Colleagues and customers pulled together and raised £7.5 million, exceeding the target of £5 million.

2011

We opened our first zero-carbon store in Asia, in Bang Phra, Thailand as part of our commitment to become a zero-carbon business by 2050.

2012

Tesco launched its first online grocery shopping service in Central Europe in Prague, Czech Republic. The service bought a wide range of fresh and frozen food to our customers as well as a number of non-food items. In October 2012 the online service was also launched in Slovakia.

2012

Tesco launched the new Everyday Value range to replace Tesco Value. The new products focus on three main areas: quality, providing healthier options for our customers and packaging imporvements that help customers identify the products on the shelves.

2012

Tesco opened its first F&F store in Saudi Arabia. The store was the first F&F franchise store. F&F now operates in 12 markets an in three years has become the leading fashion brand in Central Europe.

2012

In June Tesco was awarded Green Retailer of the year at the Annual Grocer Gold Awards. The Judges praised Tesco for its commitment to carbon reduction across all its markets. In October Tesco was also named top UK retailer for climate change by the Carbon Disclosure project based on its inlcusion in the FTSE 350 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index.

2012

Tesco announced a deal with Aeon in Japan to sell their Japanese business. The agreement saw a two part sale with Aeon, Japan's largest retail group.

2012

Tesco Bank extended its range of services to cover mortgages. Tesco Clubcard holders can gain extra rewards when they take out a mortgage with the offer of Clubcard points following each repayment they make.

2012

Tesco helped its 5000th person out of long term unemployment through the regeneration partnership scheme. Dave Pearson was hired at Highams Park Superstore. The shop created 215 new jobs, of which 74 went to local long term unemployed people.

2012

Tesco announced a strategic review of Fresh & Easy with progress to be communicated in April 2013 at the Full Year Financial Results.

2013

Tesco launches 7 inch Hudl tablet. The tablet aims to open up a world of entertainment and connectivity to all. The Hudl has been designed and built from scratch, tailored around customer needs and ease of use.

2013

We announce a major charity partnership with Diabetes UK. The partnership was launched as the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK reached three million for the first time.

2013

We opened our sixth Grocery Dotcom Centre in Erith. Erith Dotcom employs around 550 people and features the latest technology and systems available to support Tesco’s home grocery delivery business.

2014

Joint Venture in the Southern and Western regions of India with Trent Limited, part of the Tata Group. The venture sees 12 stores retailing a range of merchandise including food and grocery, personal, home and kitchen, fashion and accessories. The stores are operated under the ‘Star Bazaar’ and ‘Star Daily’ banners.

2014

Tesco and Diabetes UK announced that Tesco colleagues, suppliers and customers raised £10 million in the first year of their partnership.

2014

We launched a new 'healthy living' brand. The new brand features a range of healthy foods to help customers lead healthier lifestyles.

2014

Tesco finest*, the UK’s fastest growing premium food brand was relaunched. Over 400 new products were launched and in all, three-quarters of the 1,500 products in the range were either new or improved.