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Navigation aidSuperstore service station road maps - Tesco

Brief History

Tesco started in the 1930s as a discount chain in Greater London and by 1970 was seen as being the most downmarket of the major chains. In the last 40 years it has transformed itself with a move to large modern stores, most of which have attached petrol stations, and it ranks now as the largest UK petrol retailer by volume, with over 15% of national sales, although only sixth by station numbers.

In recent years, Tesco has experimented with smaller store formats, including starting a chain of standalone petrol stations under the "Tesco Express" branding. These have largely been superseded by Tesco Express C-stores at over 100 Esso sites, and numerous community Tesco Express stores without fuel.

Maps, Atlases & Map Booklets

Tesco's first maps were based on the RAC large format road atlas of Britain (right). The rear cover had a planning map showing Tesco petrol stations, and a list of sites inside, but otherwise it was the standard atlas with Geographers' A-Z maps and RAC town plans. Northern Ireland was excluded - at the time Tesco had not entered that market. (Shown at 2/3 relative scale)

1994 Tesco/RAC road atlas of Britain

1995 Tesco map of Britain

1997 Tesco map of Britain

1999 Tesco map booklet of Britain

2002 Tesco map booklet of Britain

The first two sheet maps (above left) are from 1995 and 1997; both were produced by Cook, Hammond & Kell.

The next two examples are 48 and 56 page booklets. The 1999 edition had 20 map pages produced by Bartholomew, although by 2002/3 the number of map pages had been cut to 18 and Collins was credited as well as Bartholomew. The 2002 version also states that it is "brought to you by Tesco Motor Insurance", as the company expanded even further from its food retailing origins, but the 2003 (right) only mentions Tesco Stores and Petrol stations on the cover of a 64 page booklet. The 2005 edition (lower right) once again gives more prominence to petrol sales, showing a Tesco price totem, as well as claiming to be "Sponsored by Tesco car insurance". It is credited to Oxford Cartographers.

All six maps locate Tesco stores and petrol stations using numbers, but by 2005 the smaller Tesco Express locations had been left off the map for clarity. (This may also be due to those with petrol being at Esso stations, rather than selling Tesco branded fuel.) For the 2007 edition (actually copyrighted 2008 inside and released in February 2008), Tesco Express stores were again marked on the maps, which were once more drawn by Collins at 1:1,000,000.

2003 Tesco booklet map of the UK

2005 Tesco map booklet of the UK

Tesco also operates stores in Eastern Europe and Asia, including China and Korea. Some of its Polish and Hungarian stores have added own-brand petrol stations, although in Thailand it has instead entered into a joint venture with Esso to develop Tesco Express stores at selected Esso sites, in a manner very similar to the UK. No maps are lnown from any of the Asian operations or from the Irish service stations.

Top of PageTesco: Hungary

Tesco has rapidly become the largest supermarket chain by sales in Hungary. It started building filling stations at most of its Hungarian locations around 2000, and although it now has only 43 outlets it is already the sixth largest brand of petrol in the country.

2006 Tesco road atlas of Budapest

2007 Tesco road atlas of Hungary

2007 Tesco road atlas of Europe (Hungarian edition)

As such it has started selling own brand spiral-bound atlases in its service station shops, each with around 144 pages of maps and index. There are three titles: Budapest, Hungary and Europe. All are prepared for Tesco by Cartographia; the ones shown here date from 2006 (Budapest) and 2007.

Tesco: Poland

2004 Tesco map of Poland (front)

2004 Tesco map of Poland (rear)

This Tesco map of Poland was published in 2004, based on the listing of stores inside (it is undated). Produced by Daunpol at 1:925,000 the cartography is more sophisticated than on British Tesco maps, although the 38 Tesco hypermarkets are not marked on the map itself, but listed in a side panel. At the time it was issued only 5 or so of the locations sold petrol, although that number has since increased as Tesco petrol stations have been added to some existing stores. Note how the Tesco branding appears only on the rear cover (and on four internal panels).

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2000-12

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.