It’s hard to feel sympathy for Tesco’s bosses – because ultimately it’s the customers who are going to benefit.
The supermarket price war that’s behind Tesco’s shrinking share of the British grocery market doesn’t get written about much – but it’s actually the best thing that’s happened for consumers in the UK this year.
What really matters isn’t the scandal over Tesco’s grossly-overstated profits, even though it’s now clear it overstated its profits for the first half of 2014 by an eye-watering £118 million.
What really matters is the 4.6 per cent decline in Tesco’s annual sales. This is a big setback that is sending the supermarket’s overall market share well below 30 per cent for the first time in nearly a decade.
The rise of online shopping and the emergence of discount alternatives like Aldi and Lidl seem to be driving a positive change in the grocery world, weakening the unhealthy grip of four big players over the sector.
At a time when most people are feeling the pinch, this shift will make much more of a difference to ordinary people’s lives than the piecemeal, small-scale policy changes made by our constrained politicians in Westminster.
It’s hard to get away from the politics because the recession and the austerity it triggered have made us all more sensitive to the fortunes of a company like Tesco.
Our economy might be growing again but many haven’t noticed. Wages are suppressed, leaving five million workers trapped in low pay.