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Tesco UK boss steps down following cancer treatment

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Tesco has announced that Charles Wilson, the former boss of Booker, is stepping down as chief executive of its UK and Ireland business following treatment for throat cancer.

Mr Wilson took on the job earlier this year after Tesco got the green light to buy cash-and-carry business Booker.

Tesco said that following an operation to remove his tonsils in April, Mr Wilson was diagnosed with throat cancer and has been undergoing daily radiotherapy between May and June.

The supermarket group said: "The good news is that Charles has responded very well to the treatment and all the signs are that the treatment has been successful."

Mr Wilson will remain on the Tesco executive committee, and will focus on leading the Booker business. Jason Tarry, currently the group's chief product officer, will become the chief executive of Tesco UK

Smaller supermarkets to be squeezed by mega-deals

Iceland lorry
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Tesco's tie-up with French retailer Carrefour and Sainsbury's merger with Asda are set to see the likes of Ocado and Iceland come under pressure, reckons credit agency Moody's.

In a research note published today it warned that squeezed suppliers will look to make up lost profits from smaller players such as Iceland and Ocado.

"Lower purchasing costs for the retail alliances will translate to lower revenue for suppliers overall, even if the alliances enhance volumes for some suppliers," it said.

"We expect suppliers will look to recover lost profits by extracting better terms from smaller customers."

Tesco deal 'not new'

BBC Radio 5 live

Wake Up To Money

Tesco store
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Following Tesco's announcement of its tie-up with Carrefour, Wake Up To Money spoke to retail expert Teresa Wickham, a non-executive director at New Covent Garden Market.

She said: "It's exactly the same as the Sainsbury/Asda tie-up; they're looking at the big brands, such as Unilever and Proctor and Gamble, to give them volume. They reckon if they get massive amounts of volume, they can bring the prices down."

But such a deal is not new, she said. "When I was at Safeway in the Nineties we did a tripart agreement with Casino in France and rhold in Holland."

Foreign partner makes sense for Tesco

More from Neil Wilson on that Tesco news....

The great advantage with the Tesco-Carrefour tie up is that it won't impact the UK market directly in the way that Asda-Sainsbury's would. [Boss] Dave Lewis seems to be navigating things very well in first selecting a wholesaler (Booker) and now a foreign giant (Carrefour) and so avoiding undesirable run-ins with the CMA. Tesco cannot really do any more deals in the UK so a foreign partner makes sense.

Tesco/Carrefour: 'squeezing the cost base'

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com, has commented on the Tesco/Carrefour tie-up.

An entente cordiale between the two giants of British and French retailing is yet another sign that squeezing the cost base is the biggest priority for supermarkets as they seek to contain the discounters and protect margins. On both sides of the Channel rising costs are putting pressure on margins. Meanwhile every retailer is looking over their shoulder at Amazon and the potential disruption is could still cause in the grocery sector. With uncertainty over future trading relations, it may also mitigate some effects of Brexit.