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Tesco boss hails turnaround

Published:  10 April, 2019

Tesco is celebrating the biggest leap in profits since it was shaken by an accounting scandal five years ago, having seen annual pre-tax profits jump 28.8% to £1.67 billion.

The supermarket, UK’s largest, instigated a four-year plan in 2015 under new chief executive Dave Lewis.

Today, he said: “After four years we have met or are about to meet the vast majority of our turnaround goals. I’m very confident that we will complete the journey in 2019/20.”

Lewis said this had been achieved by “restoring our competitiveness for customers - including through the introduction of ‘Exclusively at Tesco’ - and rebuilt a sustainable base of profitability.

“The full year margin of 3.45% represents clear progress and the second half level of 3.79%, even before the benefit of Booker, puts us comfortably in the aspirational range we set four years ago.”

The supermarket has weathered several storms in recent years, including the accounting scandal which contributed to Tesco’s £6.4 billion loss - one of the largest in corporate history.

Under Lewis, Tesco paid £3.7 billion to acquire cash-and-carry business Booker and launched Jack's, a discount chain aimed at fighting off competition from the discounters.

In the preliminary results released this morning, like-for-like sales jumped 1.7% at Tesco and 11.1% at Booker (year to February 23).

Group sales were £56.9 billion, up 11.5%.