Tesco plc (LSE: TSCO) is a global grocery and general merchandising retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues (after Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Metro) and the second-largest measured by profits (after Wal-Mart). It has stores in 14 countries across Asia, Europe and North America and is the grocery market leader in the UK (where it has a market share of around 30%), Malaysia and Thailand.
The chain was founded by Jack Cohen in 1919. The brand first appeared after Cohen bought a shipment of tea from T.E. Stockwell and he used those initials and added the first two letters of his own surname. The first Tesco store was opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Edgware, Middlesex. Originally a UK-focused retailer specialising in food and drink, it has diversified both geographically and by product, into areas such as clothing, electronics, financial services, telecoms, home, health, car and dental insurance, retailing and renting DVDs, CDs, music downloads, Internet services and software.
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Jack Cohen founded Tesco in 1919 when he began to sell surplus groceries from a stall at Well Street Market, Hackney, in the East End of London (ironically, the market is now much smaller than in those days; a large Tesco Metro store now sits on the site.) The Tesco brand first appeared in 1924. The name came about after Jack Cohen bought a shipment of tea from T.E. Stockwell. He made new labels using the first three letters of the supplier's name (TES), and the first two letters of his surname (CO), forming the word TESCO. The first Tesco store was opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Edgware, Middlesex. Tesco was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1947 as Tesco Stores (Holdings) Limited. The first self-service store opened in St Albans in 1956 (which remained operational until 2010, with a period as a Tesco Metro), and the first supermarket in Maldon in 1956.
Originally specialising in food and drink, it has diversified into areas such as clothing, electronics, financial services, telecoms, home, health, car, dental and pet insurance, retailing and renting DVDs, CDs, music downloads, Internet services and software.