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TescoGate results video: Chief executive Dave Lewis in his own words

Published:  23 October, 2014

Tesco's chief executive is looking to "re-energise" the company following the "body blow" of its financial scandal, but has so far revealed scant detail of his plans.

In a video released with its interim results today, which showed the accounting blackhole to be deeper than first thought, Dave Lewis is interviewed by Tesco group project planning director Jody Hodges.

In it he admits he is "disappointed" in the group's recent performance - pre-tax profits have fallen 92% in the last six months - and says that "relative to the market, we've not been as competitive as I would have liked us to be".

Lewis says that "re-energising" the business based around the "customer agenda" should help boost performance.

Responding to calls for details on its new strategy, Lewis said that was "not what I'm about - it's only seven weeks so we just need to be realistic".

Instead he identified three priorities:

  • Recover and regain the competitiveness in the core UK business
  • Protect and strengthen the balance sheet given the underlying profitability is lower
  • Rebuild the trust and the transparency in the brand and the business.

On the subject of the investigation, Lewis said the initial news had been "a bit of a body blow" which caused people to reflect on how Tesco operates. However, he praised the "resilience of staff" and said the "energy and the passion and enthusiasm and the willingness to get back, engaged with customers has just been fantastic".

Lewis said the Tesco and Deloitte part of the probe "has been focused on identifying around commercial income exactly what the numbers are".

But, he said: "What we can't do is start an investigation around how those numbers came about and what it was that caused those numbers to be there, because there will be an investigation by the regulator and we will be very open and very proactive in our support of their investigation but it's not for us to start that investigation - that's something that we have to support them with. So we have to wait for that."

As for the way forward for the group, Lewis said it should "let the customer guide us" adding that as long as Tesco is "constantly thinking about how it is we can work harder for customers, we will be fine".