Tesco shows signs of recovery after profit collapse

07 Oct, 2015 12:35 pm

LONDON – Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco said its turnaround plan was starting to work, with more people shopping in its stores, but the heavy cost of rebuilding the business was evident in a collapse in a first-half profit.

Reporting results one week after rival Sainsbury’s SBRY.L showed it too was starting to recover from the turmoil hitting the sector, Tesco posted results showing that like-for-like sales in its home market were down 1 percent in the second quarter, an improvement from the 1.5 percent fall in the first.

Transactions and volumes of products sold both rose, but the move to cut prices, improve customer service and increase product availability all came at a cost.

Heavy investment meant that operating profit before one-off items, its new headline performance measure, fell 55 percent to 354 million pounds in the six months to Aug. 29, its fiscal first half.

“We have delivered an unprecedented level of change in our business over the last twelve months and it is working,” Chief Executive Dave Lewis said. “The first-half results show sustained improvement across a broad range of key indicators.”

The group reiterated its outlook for the full year but said it remained ready to invest further in the business if needed. It also said it would retain its Dunnhumby data business.

After two decades of growth, Tesco lost its way – distracted by an expensive overseas expansion strategy when it needed to respond to the rise of discount grocers Aldi and Lidl in its home market.

It reported an annual loss of 6.4 billion pounds in April, one of the biggest in British corporate history. -Reuters

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