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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

With its buying team depleted by four due to maternity leave and the departure of Lindsay Talas, Tesco is sticking to a policy of evolution not revolution with its latest range review. Australian buyer Phil Reedman MW, who has been drafted back to Cheshunt from his Australian base for six weeks to cover for his absent colleagues, told Harpers that Tesco had not done anything massively new' as it approached Christmas. You've got to change a certain number of SKUs each year,' Reedman said, but wholesale range change is something that we've never done. You risk losing customers and alienating them if you withdraw too many things.' As with Sainsbury's and Asda, one key change at Tesco has been the revamping of its own-label Chile offer, with both the standard and Finest' produced by Via Wines. Reedman also said that the retailer was on target to get half the range under screwcap by the end of 2004. The priority for acting category manager, Jason Godley, is to find a replacement for Talas, who moved to Thierry's in August, but Reedman described the recruiting process as still a work in progress'. Category manager Anne-Marie Bostock, and product development managers Helen McGinn and Sarah Turner are all due to return in the New Year. Reedman was unable to say if the wine department had matched the 23% rise in profit posted by the retailer last week, but he did say that Tesco was struggling to maintain a value-for-money offer. But the way our team is structured, we have managed to do lots of work to strip out costs.'