Sir John Edward Cohen (6 October 1898 – 24 March 1979), born Jacob Edward Kohen and
commonly known as Jack Cohen, was a British businessman who founded the Tesco supermarket
chain. He was born in Whitechapel in the East End of London, the son of an Avram Kohen,
an immigrant Polish-Jewish tailor, and his first wife, Sime Zamremba.
Tesco started life in 1919 when Jack Cohen started selling surplus groceries from a stall
in the East End of London. Mr Cohen made a profit of £1 from sales of £4 on his first day.
The Tesco brand first appeared five years later in 1924 when he bought a shipment of tea
from a Mr T. E Stockwell. The initials and letters were combined to form Tes-co and in 1929
Mr Cohen opened the flagship Tesco store in Burnt Oak, North London.
The brand continued its rise in the 1930s when Mr Cohen built a headquaters and warehouse
in North London, and in 1932 Tesco became a private limited company.
In 1947 Tesco Stores (Holdings) Ltd floated on the stock exchange with a share price of 25p.
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