Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

2. Tesco

Operations Director: Gary Mills

Employment Number: 8,850

Turnover: £1.14bn (est)

Pre-tax profit: n/a

Supermarket giant Tesco has been in Northern Ireland for nearly 15 years, arriving here in 1997 after buying Stewarts.

The company now employs nearly 9,000 people in 48 outlets, including its 5 Extra stores and 12 Express stores.

2010 saw a resilient trade performance, despite being one of the toughest economic years in recent times.

In a year that brought recession in the UK, Tesco stimulated the local economy by opening two new stores and refurbishing a further four.

£16m was invested in the new outlets in Crumlin and Holywood. The new Crumlin supermarket opened in August and Holywood’s new Express store opened in September, replacing the original supermarket.

Tesco estimates that the work created employment for hundreds in the construction sector, as well as bringing ongoing retail employment in its new ventures in these areas.

Its Banbridge, Strand Road, Newtownabbey and Lisburn Road stores saw the benefit of the company’s £8m refresh programme.

The refurbishment programme is set to continue into 2011 and major openings so far this year include Northern Ireland’s largest Extra store, which opened in Craigavon in January. In February, the Belmont Road store reopened as a convenience Express store.

Tesco has said it also has proposals under planning submissions for a new store and rebuild of an existing store in Londonderry.

Other proposed new builds include smaller supermarkets for Ballycastle and Carryduff. The company says it is hoping for positive decisions from Planning Services in order to bring its stores to more remote locations.

Tesco remains committed to local produce and said local sourcing has now reached around £520m, working with more than 90 Northern Ireland suppliers, sourcing from thousands of farmers.

These links with local suppliers are cited by the supermarket group as the reason it was able to keep shelves stocked during the big freeze in December.

In September it hosted its second annual Taste Northern Ireland Garden Party in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, which attracted more than 12,000 visitors.

After being promoted from Northern Ireland director to operations director for Tesco in Northern Ireland and the Republic, the company says Gary Mills has enjoyed a successful first year.

Belfast-born Mr Mills now has responsibility for 180 stores across the island.

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Belfast Telegraph


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