Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 139,005 pages of information and 225,313 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Tesco

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Jack Cohen founded Tesco in 1919 when he began to sell surplus groceries from a stall in the East End of London.

The Tesco brand first appeared in 1924. The name came about after Jack Cohen bought a shipment of tea from T.E. Stockwell. He made new labels using the first three letters of the supplier's name (TES), and the first two letters of his surname (CO), forming the word "TESCO".

The first Tesco store was opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Edgware, Middlesex.

Tesco floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1947 as Tesco Stores (Holdings) Limited.

The first self service store opened in St Albans in 1947 (still operational in 2008 as a Metro).

The first supermarket opened in Maldon in 1956.

During the 1950s and the 1960s Tesco grew organically, but also through acquisitions until it owned more than 800 stores.

1957 The company purchased 70 Williamsons stores.

1959 The company purchased 200 Harrow Stores outlets

1960 The company purchased 212 Irwins stores

1964 The company purchased 97 Charles Phillips stores

1968 The company purchased Victor Value chain and sold then to Bejam in 1986

In May 1987 Tesco completed its hostile takeover of the Hillards chain of 40 supermarkets in the North of England for £220 million.

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