Double trouble: Tesco CEO Dave Lewis takes on day-to-day management of UK stores

Christmas is crucial for supermarkets and Tesco is in a wretched state.

The company has endured a blizzard of negative media in recent weeks as news outlets have pored over the details of the accounting scandal.

Meanwhile, most of Tesco’s senior executives have been suspended or have had to leave, and on top of that, scrums, described as “riots”, broke out in 16 stores on Friday.

During the weird frenzy, generated by bargain hunting “Black Friday” shoppers, police were called to control the ravening crowds. A policeman later said: “scarce resources should not be used to bail out stores when they’ve not planned effectively”.

It’s all damning stuff. But it’s worse still for Dave Lewis, the new CEO who has taken the reins at the worst possible time.

If that wasn’t dreadful enough, Lewis, in addition to his duties as CEO, is now also taking on the day-to-day responsibilities of running Tesco’s UK stores. This is despite a previous admission that he had never run a shop before.

The man previously responsible for the running of Tesco’s UK operation (the company’s most profitable area) was Chris Bush. But Bush was suspended in September after the £263m accounting hole in Tesco’s profits emerged. He is now understood to have left the company.

The dual responsibilities Lewis is taking on highlights the dearth of talent left at the higher echelons of the company.

According to the Guardian, Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, said: “It is tough to [be chief executive and run the UK operation] in a group as big as Tesco with its large Asian and European operations. I wish him good luck … a phrase like shuffling the deckchairs comes to mind. Tesco has huge problems and they shouldn’t be underestimated.”

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