Tesco calls on “weather team” to help with stock selection

Posted by Isobel Drake on 26th August 2009

Britain’s largest retailer has enlisted a team of six weather experts to assist them in stocking the most suitable products for the prevailing weather.

The company is confident that, by being better prepared to adapt to changing consumer preferences based on the weather, they could save hundreds of thousands in food waste costs.

A computer program used by the “weather team” includes detailed weather reports for all regions of the country for the past five years and shows what each Tesco store sold as a result of that weather. A rise of 10 degrees, for example, drew people back to the barbecue with a 300% surge in sales of barbecue meat and a 50% rise in lettuce sales.

Tesco spokesman Jonathan Church said supermarket chains needed to recognise the impact of the weather on buying habits. Already, the team had assisted in preparation for a cold snap in July that led to higher soup sales.

“In recent years, the unpredictability of the British summer — not to mention the unreliability of British weather forecasters — has caused a massive headache for those in the retail food business deciding exactly which foods to put out on shelves,” the spokesman told Times Online.

“The present summer is a perfect example, with the weather changing almost daily and shoppers wanting barbecue and salad foods one day and winter food the next.”