Tesco sees UK trading profit down 3.6%

Profits have fallen again at Tesco, with UK trading profit down 3.6% to just under £2.2bn, and group trading profit down 6% to £3.3bn.

Group sales were up 0.3% to £70.9bn, with revenue up 0.2% to £63.5bn, for the 52 weeks ended 22 February 2014.

Underlying profit before tax for the group was down 6.9%, based on actual exchange rates, with profit in Europe down 27.7% after it "significantly reduced its new investment" in the region.

The retailer said it saw strong growth in the UK through its online grocery service, with sales up 11%, and like-for-like sales in its Express stores up 1.1%.

Despite the fall in profits, Philip Clarke, chief executive, Tesco, said the retailer was being transformed through "a relentless focus on providing the most compelling offer for our customers".

As part of this plan Tesco said it had cut the price of lines that mattered most to its customers, including chicken and beef mince, with prices decreasing by an average of 24% across all the lines that had been cut.

The retailer said it had also focused on provenance during 2013, with all own-brand fresh chicken, and its fresh and frozen beef now 100% British. It added that it was also in the processing of offering two-year contracts to beef and lamb farmers.

Clarke added: "Our results today reflect the challenges we face in a trading environment which is changing more rapidly than ever before."

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