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PETER FROST has 10 reasons why customers are leaving the supermarket giant in droves.

TESCO shareholders met on Friday in London to hear bosses’ plans on how to stop a precipitous fall in sales, profits and share prices — and what they can do about a reputation that quite simply stinks.

Headlines have suggested the supermarket may be losing a million shoppers a week at £25 each per visit.

Tesco top boss Philip Clarke (below) told assembled shareholders, mostly banks, insurance companies and pension funds, that sales have slumped by 3.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year, the firm’s worst result for 40 years.

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Like-for-like sales are down again while other supermarkets, most of them German, are reporting healthy growth. These grim figures have sent Tesco’s share price tumbling.

I’m no stock-market analyst but here are my top 10 reasons why people might not be shopping at Tesco — and I haven’t had to go back anything like 40 years.

Tesco doesn’t pay decent wages. Amy Bradley, an ex-Tesco manager, took a 33,000-plus strong petition to Friday’s Tesco AGM demanding that the supermarket pay its workers a living wage. “Tesco — the UK’s largest private-sector employer — should be leading the way in investing in staff and in the wider community by paying living wages. Tesco customers want to shop at a living wage supermarket,” said Amy’s petition.

Tesco treats delivery drivers badly. In the lead-up to Christmas 2012 Tesco transferred 180 delivery drivers and their jobs based in Doncaster to Eddie Stobart. Stobart promptly sacked them leading to a long dispute. The strike is over but the legal battle goes on. Drivers brought their battle to Friday’s AGM.

Tesco plants anti-homeless spikes. The supermarket showed its care for local communities and shoppers when it placed cruel spikes outside its stores where homeless people had found a sheltered place to sit or sleep.

Tesco and Lady Porter. Lady Porter (below) is the daughter of Tesco founder Lord Cohen. She was declared politically corrupt by the law lords and ordered to pay £27 million. As Tory ex-leader of Westminster Council she faced a mammoth bill after losing the Homes-for-Tory-votes battle. Ms Porter then fled to self-imposed exile in Israel, claiming no funds in Britain. Through a network of family trusts and holdings she is still believed to be one of Tesco’s largest private shareholders.

Dame Shirley Porter

Tesco sold horse meat. During the horse meat scandal Tesco was criticised by the advertising watchdog over a misleading campaign. Tesco burgers contained 29 per cent horse meat and other products had even more horse.

Tesco uses Big Brother tactics. In 2013 Tesco caused major outrage after it used cameras to scan shoppers’ faces. They claimed it was simply to tailor advertising at petrol stations. The company which made the spy cameras however said: “Our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible. Combining the photo recognition with the vast amount of customers’ personal data Tesco already collects, holds and distributes.”

Tesco sold dodgy tuna. Last year Greenpeace accused Tesco of stocking tuna that is caught in a way that can harm other wildlife despite promises from the supermarket all its tuna was sustainably caught.

Tesco sells live turtles in China. Despite worldwide protests, Tesco sells live turtles for food in its stores in China.

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Tesco sells foie gras. Foie gras, a liver pate made by cruelly force-feeding ducks and geese, is illegal in 15 countries including Britain. Tesco sells it in Hungary.

Tesco is a high street bully. Tesco has long dominated the country’s high streets and out-of-town shopping. More than a hundred organisations have already demanded Tesco be curbed. Up and down the country it has been blamed for the dwindling number of independent butchers, grocers and corner shops and the decline of town and village high streets. This aggressive domination of the marke place has made it very unpopular.

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This article first appeared in the Mornring Star 30 June 2014. 

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