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The One Stall Wonder

August 16, 2012

Many big businesses start out small. Many small businesses remain small businesses throughout their existence. It’s the talent of the owner that makes the difference in making a business grow.

In 1919 Jack Cohen founded Tesco from a market stall in London’s East End. At the end of the WW I he used his demobilization money to buy the store’s first stock. From surplus goods sold he made his first day profit of one pound. That was the beginning of Tesco.

The company was very forward looking in 1934 it built a new headquarters and warehouse in north London which was the first modern warehouse in England.  Cohen began buying stores in the growing London suburbs in the 1930s as business continued to grow. By 1947 the Tesco Stores (Holdings) went public in the London Stock Exchange.

Always looking to innovate the company introduced self-service in 1948 to mixed reactions from customers. It did try to emphasize that it was selling goods at lower prices. The company continued its growth and did not simply limit itself to England it also expanded overseas.

Today Tesco is one of the largest retail companies in the world. It does business in 14 countries with over half a million employees serving millions of customers on any given week. The company has presence in Europe, Asia and North America.  It has also entered the financial sector with the establishment of Tesco Bank.

This all began in 1919 with a man starting out in a London market stall.

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