Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence


Supplementary memorandum submitted by Tesco

  Thank you for the recent opportunity to give oral evidence on Tesco's behalf to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry on A Surveillance Society?

  In response to Mr Denham's questions relating to the strategic use of Clubcard data, I would firstly like to challenge the suggestion that Clubcard is used to put local shops out of business. This is simply not true. The primary role of Clubcard is to enable us to thank our customers for shopping with us and enable us to better understand what they want and try and respond to their changing needs.

  I understand Mr Denham's concerns about the future of local shopping centres but would like to emphasise that investment by Tesco can really benefit a local area. Not only do our stores bring improved choice and a greater range to customers, but the popularity of our stores can be a rejuvenating force in a local area, increasing footfall and custom for all local shops, and improving the vitality of the neighbourhood around the store. Academic studies have shown such positive effects in a number of areas where we have developed new stores, such as in Beverley, Glasgow, the Seacroft area of Leeds and in Hampshire. I would be more than happy to provide more detail on these studies should this be of interest.

  To turn to the specific question of the use of Clubcard data, aggregated data can help us understand the demographics and trading patterns of a local area. This can in turn help inform our planning for new stores and enable us to offer customers the best possible new shopping environment. However, all analysis of Clubcard data for this purpose is based on aggregated and anonymised data and confined to spending patterns and postcode data, rather than individual customer information.

  It is also worth making the point that whilst Clubcard data can be used to understand local demographics, this sort of information is also available through Experian or the National Survey of Local Shopping Patterns.

  Finally, as I explained during the oral evidence session, we have worked with our customers to ensure our Clubcard application form gives them sufficient information about how we use their data and enables them to opt-out of marketing where they wish to, which customers have indicated is most important to them. We recognise how important privacy is to our customers and ensure that we comply with all relevant legislation and good practice guidelines in the way we process and use their personal information.

  I hope that I have been able to address your concerns.

July 2007

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