Tesco was founded in 1919 by Jack Cohen as a group of market stalls. The Tesco name first appeared in 1924, after Cohen purchased a shipment of tea from T. E. Stockwell and combined those initials with the first two letters of his surname and the first Tesco store opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Middlesex. His business expanded rapidly, and by 1939 he had over 100 Tesco stores across the country. Originally a UK-focused grocery retailer, since the early 1990s Tesco has increasingly diversified geographically and into areas such as the retailing of books, clothing, electronics, furniture, toys, petrol and software; financial services; telecoms and internet services; DVD rental; and music downloads.
In the United Kingdom Tesco offers financial services through Tesco Bank, formerly a 50:50 joint venture with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Products on offer include credit cards, loans, mortgages, savings accounts and several types of insurance, including car, home, life and travel. They are promoted by leaflets in Tesco's stores and through its website. The business made a profit of £130 million for the 52 weeks to 24 February 2007, of which Tesco's share was £66 million. This move towards the financial sector diversified the Tesco brand and provides opportunities for growth outside of the retailing sector. On 28 July 2008 Tesco announced that they were buying out the Royal Bank of Scotland's 50% stake in the company for £950 million. In October 2009 the name of Tesco Personal Finance was changed to Tesco Bank.