Tesco profits from post-Pesach opening

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 1, 2008

Shoppers crowded around the entrance to the Tesco in Prestwich late on Sunday evening in anticipation of a comprehensive post-Pesach stock-up.

For the North Manchester store was one of two Tesco branches in England — Brent Cross was the other — to trade from one minute past midnight to cater for the Jewish market.

Trolleys at the ready, there was a stampede as the doors opened, with customers first descending on the boxes of cereal astutely placed near the entrance by the store management.

“If I had come tomorrow it would all have been grabbed,” said Salford mother-of-seven Pauline Isaacson. “My husband needs to get back to work tomorrow so I’m here.”

Another mother praised Tesco for being “spot on” for its Jewish customers. “You can meet all of the community here tonight,” she added.

For those able to stomach more of the Pesach staple, hundreds of boxes of Rakusen’s matzah were reduced to half-price in the hope of attracting buyers.

Scrutinising the aisle of remaining Pesach products, Sammy Bergin noted: “They haven’t reduced the wine and items that will keep until next year. They know what they are doing.”

First out of the checkouts was Naomi Rosenston, a retailer and mother-of-two. “I only came out for a bit of cereal — I can’t believe the rush,” she said. “I support the local kosher stores, but it’s great that Tesco provide for us.”

Within 30 minutes of opening, over 200 people were queuing at the 23 checkouts.

“It’s a buzz,” said duty store manager Matt Carr. “I did anticipate quite a lot of people coming to shop but the numbers have exceeded my expectations.”

A Tesco head-office spokeswoman said that the early Brent Cross opening had also proved popular. “We will definitely consider it again.”

    Last updated: 2:29pm, May 13 2008