Tesco was founded by Jack Cohen, who was selling groceries in the markets of the London East End from 1919. The Tesco brand first appeared in 1924 after Jack Cohen bought a large shipment of tea from T.E. Stockwell and made new labels by using the first three letters of the supplier's name and the first two letters of his surname forming the word "TESCO".
The first Tesco store was opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Edgware, London. The firm was floated on the stock exchange in 1947. The first Tesco self-service store opened in 1948 in St Albans and is still trading as of 2002. The first Tesco supermarket was opened in 1956 at a converted cinema in Maldon, Essex. Its first "superstore" was opened in 1968 in Crawley, West Sussex. It began selling petrol in 1974 and its annual turnover reached 1000 million pounds in 1979. It introduced a loyalty card in 1995 and later an Internet shopping service. During the 1990s it expanded into Eastern Europe, Ireland and East Asia. In July 2001 it became involved in internet grocery retailing in the USA when it obtained a 35% stake in GroceryWorks.
In addition to opening its own stores, Tesco has expanded by taking over other chains, including: