Royal British Legion short of poppy-sellers, says Tesco


Tesco has said it is not selling poppies in some stores because the Royal British Legion (RBL) is “short of volunteers”.

The charity runs the Poppy Appeal, which it started 100 years ago to support members of the armed forces.

Over 40,000 people are thought to have spent the last fortnight collecting for the cause.

Despite the centenary of the appeal, some shoppers were apparently unable to buy a poppy in their local Tesco.

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One social media user was “absolutely disgusted” by the response in the Wolverhampton store.

“Just been in and asked if you had any [poppies] as my kids have lost theirs and was told no one wants them round here,” she said. 

“How disrespectful can you be?”

In response, Tesco apologised and said there were “volunteers in most stores selling poppies”.

Shadow veterans minister Stephanie Peacock said the RBL had “received brilliant support” after helping sell poppies at Hoyland Tesco in Barnsley last week.

However, others have complained to the supermarket that they had not been able to show their support.

“Can you explain why you don’t sell poppies to me?” asked a shopper from Bath via Twitter.

A woman from Leicester said she had “been to Tesco and no luck!”

While most complaints appear to centre around Britain’s biggest retailer, other supermarkets also came in for criticism.

One customer said she had made unsuccessful visits to Tesco and the Co-op, while another was left empty-handed despite going to Tesco Express, Waitrose and Nisa.

Writing on Twitter, Tesco said: “We have invited volunteers from the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland to collect in our Extras and Superstores and drop off collection boxes to Express stores.

“However, they are short of volunteers and might not able to provide poppies or collect in every store.”

Tesco and the RBL have been approached for comment.

Eleven years ago, the supermarket drew controversy when it stopped stocking Hovis loaves that sent 4p per pack to the Poppy Appeal.

After an enquiry by The Grocer, it announced it would donate £40,000 to the RBL to “offset” the move.

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