Tesco axes pack design division

Supermarket giant Tesco has told staff at its in-house packaging design division they are to be “redeployed” to alternative posts next month as the department is effectively disbanded. The move comes as Tesco prepares to announce the names of consultancies on its new pack design roster (DW 2 October).

None of the design team, understood to be 14 strong, will be made redundant, insists Tesco design manager Richard Murphy.

“There comes a time when effectively people have to be redeployed. That’s what’s happening here,” says Murphy. He says career options, including point-of-sale design, store design, store management, distribution and stock management, will be open to the packaging design staff.

Murphy describes the changes as being part of an innovative plan to change the way design is deployed within Tesco. “We are seeking to place a greater emphasis on our consultancies,” he says.

A new design manager is expected to be appointed from within the company to oversee external design groups, he adds. Murphy’s own position will effectively cease to exist as part of the shake-up.

Murphy declines to comment further on the nature of the restructuring, which he claims is commercially sensitive. But sources close to the retailer suggest the changes are part of a long-term plan to out-source almost all the chain’s design facilities.

Between ten and 15 consultancies were due to be notified of their appointment to Tesco’s packaging design roster as Design Week went to press.

See News Analysis, page 7

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