There are stores of the Lenta retail chain in more than 200 cities of Russia. On the one hand, they are very popular among consumers, on the other hand, both buyers and employees have complaints about the company’s work. The former are dissatisfied with the wrong price tags and delays, the latter with working conditions, which in practice are very different from what HR promises.
Life continues to study the internal processes of large Russian companies as part of the SHOT CHECK project. This time, the Lenta retail chain, founded in 1993 in St. Petersburg, became the object of the study. As of March 2023, there were 259 Lenta hypermarkets, 568 Mini Lenta supermarkets and stores in Russia with a total selling area of about 1.78 million square meters. The network is present in more than 200 Russian settlements.
According to the FSIS “Unified Register of Inspections”, which operates under the auspices of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the number of violations in Russian retail chains in the first quarter of this year increased by 2-10 times. Lenta was also affected by this trend: here their number increased by 245-264%.
At one time, Lenta pushed foreign retailers aside, demonstrating that a Russian company can compete with foreign ones. But, as time shows, it is focused on the same profit making as other market players.
Delays and price tags
On the web, you can see a huge number of negative reviews about the retailer that are published by visitors. Someone pays attention to the discrepancy between the prices of goods on the price tag and at the checkout. The difference, as perturbed consumers note, in some cases reaches up to 30%. People complain that the company deceives and shortchanges its customers – not everyone checks receipts, and the fact that a product was purchased at a price that does not correspond to that indicated on the price tag often becomes an unpleasant surprise. In addition, extra positions are sometimes found in checks.
Judging by the information on the sites with reviews, from time to time buyers also encounter expired goods. At the same time, the date of manufacture on the package is fresh, but the smell and appearance of the product indicate that it is not worth eating. This is not uncommon, for example, in relation to meat products.
Consumers are also dissatisfied with the quality of goods sold under the Lenta brand. They are somewhat cheaper than their counterparts, so people sometimes prefer them because of the attractive price. But in many cases they have to regret it.
Some of the reviews contain complaints about rudeness on the part of the company’s employees, as well as about dirt in the trading floors.
Of course, there are also positive reviews, but they are much less.
To an outside observer, Lenta appears to be a stable and trustworthy business that can compete with European retailers that still remain in Russia. About 60,000 people work in the chain’s stores throughout Russia. Lenta, which was originally aimed at the development of hypermarkets, is now opening stores in a small format.
Information on the financial statements of Lenta for 2022 is not yet available, but the company has published data for 2021. As a result, the retailer earned almost half a trillion rubles. For comparison, the same “Auchan” received only 240 billion rubles for the same period.
Hypermarkets “Lenta” are free-standing retail premises of a large size. The halls offer a wide range of a wide variety of goods. There is also production. The company launched its own delivery. A team of IT specialists created a well-thought-out website and application. Managers work with consumer complaints in Lenta’s social media accounts.
The founder of the tape is the Bryansk businessman Oleg Zherebtsov, who sold his stake in the middle of the 2000s. After a corporate conflict of owners in the 2010s, the company went to the owner of Severstal, Alexei Mordashov. His company Severgroup owns 78% of the retailer’s shares.
Two years ago, Lenta acquired the Billa Russia GmbH network, the transaction price was 215 million euros, receiving not only stores, but also 5.4 thousand new employees.
Lenta has a well-established HR team. As the newspaper notes, modern recruiting technologies are used here, which resemble the practice of Western companies that attract potential employees. The company produces motivational videos in which job seekers are convinced of its value to the employer. There are phrases about Lenta’s image in a market that depends on employees. Recruiters say that Lenta needs not so much employees as like-minded people. All this is in addition to the standard promises of high salaries, bonuses for working hours, work in a friendly team and meals at a reduced price.
Most often, Lenta needs cashiers and salespeople. There are several hundred vacancies on the site. The positions of cooks, confectioners and bakers are also in demand. We also need packers, order pickers and store directors. One gets the impression that such a shortage of personnel arises from the fact that employees, for some unknown reason, do not hold on to work at Lenta. At the same time, the job descriptions indicate really high salaries for this area: for example, for a vacancy for a merchandiser, this amount is up to 62 thousand rubles, for a warehouse worker – up to 104 thousand rubles, and for a storekeeper – up to 66 thousand rubles.
Overtime and dangerous meals
Promises and reality diverge in many ways. According to the publication, the SHOT CHECK agent got a job at Lenta as an online order picker. For work in shifts of 12 hours at the interview, he was promised 40 thousand rubles a month net, taking into account overtime – 47 thousand rubles. True, in practice it turned out that part of the hours worked are not recorded, and the first days, despite full-time work, are recorded as internships.
For the first few shifts, the newly minted employee learned to collect orders according to the methodology recommended by his mentor. He explained that when the products are going to be delivered, the goods with the expiration date should be placed in the basket. They remove the old sticker with the real date from them and stick a new one.
As for ready-made food, it can be stored in refrigerators for no more than three hours. To control it, stick a label with the cooking time. Then, as one of the employees reported, the label is re-glued an unlimited number of times.
Dinners deserve special attention. For an employee, a meal costs 45 rubles, but those who have been working for a long time do not use this option, fearing indigestion and other unpleasant consequences.
Employees also note that against the backdrop of a shortage of sellers, existing employees are “optimized”, and the same person weighs fish and sausage at the counter. And if there are too many buyers, even cooks are sometimes called to the checkout.