Makeover to cost Tesco pounds 4m

Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket group, is having a corporate makeover - at least its 120,000 staff are. From September all shopfloor employees will be issued with a new wardrobe - at a cost of around pounds 4m. The new look, designed by Sketchley, the dry cleaners, will offer Tesco staff a greater choice of styles and colours and will feature more natural fabrics like linen and cotton.

A spokesman for Tesco said that Sketchley had spent months canvassing staff about their preferred styles and colours. "We wanted to make our people as comfortable as possible. The end result is a flattering mix and match in a selection of styles." Jane Tutt, who designs for Sketchley said: "Choice was always a major concern when it came to designing the new uniform." The contract is one of the largest for Sketchley, which also has careerwear contracts with Sainsbury and the Rover Group. The three contracts are worth a total pounds 11m.

The current Tesco work uniform, which until now has been designed in- house, is drab at best - a white dress with red spots for women and grey trousers and white shirt for men. By contrast the new look, which has a navy blue base with coloured checks, offers a bewildering array of styles. Women are offered four blouse patterns, one with a crew neck, a dress, a long or short skirt or trousers and a navy jacket. Women can also opt for a long waistcoat "for ladies who want to cover their fat bits," said a Tesco spokesman. Men can select from three shirt patterns and colours, three tie designs and a navy waistcoat. Section managers get a choice of jackets and different shirts and blouses to general assistants.

Sketchley used linens, cottons and non-iron fabrics rather than polyesters. "This uniform looks and feels a damn sight better than the old one," said a Tesco spokesman.

The new range is on trial in four stores - Blackburn Metro, Osterley, Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill Express - but will be rolled out across the group from September. Tesco's revamp is the latest in a line of costly corporate brand makeovers. Barclays Bank recently employed designer Jeff Banks to spruce up its staff at a cost of around pounds 4m and British Airways spent pounds 60m redesigning the tail fins on its planes and its logo.