So here we are again with the leaves on the ground and a snap in the air. The turn of another year and, in Groundhog Day-style, Tesco has swept the board again in Britain's Most Admired Companies: it takes the top slot overall and its CEO Sir Terry Leahy is again the UK's Most Admired Leader.
It is significant that Tesco receives the accolade from its peers at a time when it faces greater hostility from its detractors than it has ever done. The supermarket is quite simply far too good at what it does and it has definitely ruffled a few feathers on the way to its position of hegemony. The latest sally has come from Poland, where the new conservative finance minister Teresa Lubinska has denounced Tesco as 'the kind of non-productive investment not needed in Poland'. In its own back yard, Tesco has so far escaped the punitive attention of the Office of Fair Trading, but the signs are looking ominous on that front for 2006.
If you believe in freedom of choice, it is hard, actually, to argue against Tesco. Its customers cannot get enough time in Sir Terry's aisles. When Tesco acquired some former Safeway outlets, sales in those stores more than doubled. The same is true when a Tesco Express replaces a local store like Europa or Cullens.