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Amol Rajan

Amol Rajan is Assistant Editor on the Comment desk at The Independent. He was previously a news reporter and Sports News Correspondent, and writes columns for The Liberal and The Salisbury Review.

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Tesco profits and morality

Posted by Amol Rajan
  • Tuesday, 21 April 2009 at 08:31 am
Corporate success stories and recessions make uncomfortable bedfellows.  

Tales of commercial glory, of 'bumper profits', can swell anger, seem insensitive, and provoke a sense of injustice among the weak, the wretched, and the highfalutin during times of austerity.

So the news that Tesco made record profits of £3bn is likely to cause both some outraged and some outrageous headlines, even if Sir Terry Leahy is to be believed when he says he hopes to create 11,000 jobs.

Now, I'm not a spokesman for corporate glamour, nor do I like the idea that there's a Tesco in every city, town, village or whatever.   Driving through Okehampton one time, that red and blue logo struck me as somehow incongruous, even vulgar.

But just remember that one of the reasons Tesco is successful is because it has learned how to get reasonable quality food to people feeling the pinch in a way that causes them to come back frequently. 

Yes, there are many other mitigating factors, including local monopolies.  But there's a part of me that's with Dominic Lawson when he said, in a typically cogent column for us, that we should applaud, not denigrate, the success of Tesco for giving us what we want.

Comments

westhamsterdam wrote:
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 at 09:53 am (UTC)
The trouble is will Tesco get likes the financials where it is to big to fail? Haven't we learnt the lesson yet that big may not be so beautiful? The bigger Tesco gets the more power it creates for itself & we should all know what power does in corporates, it corrupts.

Look at what wal Mart has done in the US Mid West states, absolutely decimated all other trade. Leahy is one of the biggest Neo Conservative's going. He may create 11000 jobs but most will be low paid. He also may choose to relocate many jobs from the UK to India, thus I would be very careful to state that Leahy is the saviour of the UK.
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