Tim Mason to Head American Operation

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Tesco, the U.K.’s largest grocery chain and one of its most successful brands, will open its first stores in the U.S. next year, and one of the region’s most powerful marketing executives, U.K. Marketing Director Tim Mason, will head the U.S. operation.
With annual sales of $65 billion worldwide, Tesco is one of the U.K.'s most profitable companies.

West Coast location
The first store will open on the West Coast. Tesco said the U.S. stores will use a convenience-store format designed for the American market following extensive consumer research, and modeled on the Tesco Express format that already operates in five countries, including the U.K.

With annual sales of $65 billion worldwide and 31% of the U.K. grocery market, Tesco is one of the U.K.’s most profitable companies. The supermarket giant offers consumers everything from Tesco broadband access and financial services to food and consumer electronics. One oft-quoted statistic in the U.K. is that one of every eight British pounds spent in the country goes to Tesco. However, the company’s focus has become increasingly international with stores in 12 countries outside the U.K., including Thailand and Central Europe.

Switching Tesco's ad account
Mr. Mason was most recently in the news as the force behind the switch of Tesco’s $85 million ad account, one of the U.K.’s largest, to Frank Lowe’s new agency. The business shifted from Lowe London, part of the Lowe network started by Mr. Lowe, who retired from the agency's parent, Interpublic Group of Cos., two years ago.

Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco, said in a statement: “The United States is the largest economy in the world, with strong forecast growth and a sophisticated retail market. It is a market we have researched extensively for many years and over the last year we have committed serious resources to developing a format that we believe will be really popular with American consumers.”

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