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More talking needed at Tesco

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More talking needed at Tesco

Last Friday, I reported that Tesco CEO Ken Murphy is based in Ireland for tax purposes.

This isn’t a great look for a business with enough other troubles.

The chairman is fending off allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” by at least four women.

And MPs are investigating if Tesco and others are profiteering from inflation.

So the CEO being based outside the UK while he tries to negotiate with the government hardly helps. Come and talk to us when you pay us some tax, the MPs might say.

What has Tesco got to say about all of this? Absolutely nothing.

I don’t mean it declined to comment, I mean it doesn’t answer phone calls, emails or texts. It won’t even comment that it is not commenting.

I asked a couple of more regular retail reporters if it’s just me they ignore. No, they said, about par for the course.

Tesco has always had a funny attitude to the press. Even at the height of its success under Sir Terry Leahy it came off as defensive, looking for a reason to complain.

Ken Murphy, the present CEO, might be a great guy, or not. We just don’t know.

He might say the reason he pays tax in Ireland is because he is Irish, what’s the big deal? But he didn’t say that, or indeed anything.

It’s an odd approach which i almost certainly isn’t the fault of the many PR people Tesco employs. It feels like there is either zero direction from the top, or else orders not to engage at almost any level.

Sometimes, this tactic – if that is what it is – sort of works. But not in the longer run.

Press release of the day

Which are the most burgled places in the UK? This from InsureMy has done the work and says it is Middlesbrough.

You are least likely to be burgled in Plymouth and Swindon, though there may be other reasons not to live there.

Four London boroughs make the top 10 – Westminster, Southwark, Hackney and Camden.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Is Land Sec seeing any recovery in the commercial property market? What is its total exposure to retail?

2) What does new Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle have up her sleeve?

3) The US isn’t really going to default. Is it?

4) What does Imperial Brands make of the sudden change of CEO at BAT?


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