Wire Service
1 minute read
10 Apr 2019
7:09 am

British supermarket giant Tesco posts rising profit


British supermarket king Tesco on Wednesday registered a nine-percent increase in annual net profits, helped by cost-cutting and its acquisition of wholesaler Booker.

The world's third-biggest chain Tesco has posted rising profits during a difficult time for British high street chains. AFP/File/Ben STANSALL

The nation’s biggest retailer posted the gains during a tough time for British high street chains and in the face of stiff competition from low-price rivals.

Tesco said in a statement that profit after tax increased to £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion, 1.5 billion euros) in the group’s 2018/2019 financial year to February.

That compared with a slightly smaller net profit of £1.2 billion in 2017/2018.

Pre-tax profits meanwhile surged by almost a third to £1.67 billion.

Revenues, aided by last year’s £3.7-billion purchase of Booker, jumped 11.2 percent to £63.9 billion.

In home market Britain, like-for-like sales — which strip out the impact of new floor space — rose 1.7 percent.

The performance was praised by chief executive Dave Lewis, who was parachuted into Tesco in 2014 to help transform fortunes at the group which had posted a record loss in 2014/2015.

Lewis embarked upon a radical cost-cutting and asset-selling transformation plan as also he sought to combat fierce domestic competition, particularly from German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

“After four years we have met or are about to meet the vast majority of our turnaround goals,” Lewis said on Wednesday.

“I’m very confident that we will complete the journey in 2019/20.

“I’m delighted with the broad-based improvement across the business.”

Tesco is the world’s third-biggest supermarket chain after France’s Carrefour and global leader Walmart of the United States.

The positive result comes in difficult period for British retailers.

On Tuesday retail stalwart Debenhams was taken over by lenders after falling into administration, and the last 18 months has seen the demise of clothing outlet Calvetron, music retailer HMV, the Toys ‘R’ Us toy chain, Maplin electronics stores and discount store Poundworld.