Tesco-branded products to disappear from Island

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TESCO-BRANDED products are to disappear from Island stores in a move which the Jersey Consumer Council says exposes the ‘vulnerability’ of the supply chain.

Carl Walker, the council’s chairman, spoke out following an announcement by locally owned supermarket chain Alliance that Tesco was stopping wholesale exports.

Alliance has instead formed a new partnership with Waitrose.

The change means Tesco products will no longer be sold in Alliance’s stores, while more than 1,000 Waitrose items – including ready meals, vegan ranges, frozen products, prepared fruit and vegetables and store-cupboard staples – will become available instead.

The first Alliance branch to carry the Waitrose stock will be the St Ouen shop in March, and they will then be rolled out across the firm’s three St Helier stores.

Mr Walker said: ‘The price comparisons we have been running across the supermarkets for more than a year now, on the whole, show that either Alliance [with Tesco products] or Waitrose are the cheapest supermarkets in Jersey.

‘Tesco’s decision to stop exporting its goods does potentially remove one of the cheaper product lines for consumers. However, not everything Alliance stocks is Tesco, as they have other suppliers, so we will have to wait and see exactly what the impact of this decision will be on the pocket of the consumer.’

Daphne East, Alliance’s director of operations, said: ‘Tesco are stopping all of their wholesale export agreements this year. They announced that to us last year so obviously we were looking for a new partner.’

She added: ‘I think they [Waitrose] will be a great partner, because they have a presence on the islands so they understand the islands.’

She explained that Tesco products would start to be phased out in March.

‘Tesco products will be in some stores until the very end [of the transition] but they won’t be available after that,’ she said.

Asked how the Waitrose products would compare with Tesco’s in terms of price and quality, she said: ‘We are very excited that the [Waitrose] range is probably more advanced and broader in terms of what they can offer us.’

She added: ‘They will still be very competitive. As Alliance, we try and offer competitive, good quality products.’

Mr Walker said: ‘It may be that Alliance remains one of the cheaper options, backed up by a supply with Waitrose.

‘The price surveys we do will be able to monitor that and determine whether the Island has lost one of its most competitive food-supply chains.’

He added: ‘This could be a worrying decision by a large UK supplier. We do not know the exact reasons but, in light of Brexit and Covid, businesses in the UK are consolidating and this, once again, exposes Jersey’s vulnerability as an island. We have to hope that this is not the beginning of something much bigger.’

Andrew Bagot, the managing director at Alliance, said: ‘Alliance is delighted to partner with Waitrose whose quality and provenance is second to none.

‘Alliance is a fast-moving convenience retailer and the partnership with Waitrose will further enhance the choice and quality for our customers.’

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