Tesco suffers record loss

Tesco has posted a record £6.4bn annual pre-tax loss for the year to the end of February.

This compares to a pre-tax loss of £2.26bn last year, and is the biggest loss suffered by a UK retailer in history.

Around £4.7bn of the losses were due to the fall in property value of its UK stores, 43 of which it said would close earlier this month. A further £416m was down to restructuring costs.

Like-for-like sales in the UK, not including fuel, were also down 3.6%.

Dave Lewis, chief executive of the food giant, was not in denial about the torrid time the supermarket had been having, and said: “It has been a very difficult year for Tesco.”

The retailer is still under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after it overstated its half-year profit forecast in August by £263m.

Lewis continued: “The results we have published today reflect a deterioration in the market and, more significantly, an erosion of our competitiveness over recent years. We have faced into this reality, sought to draw a line under the past and begun to rebuild, and already we are beginning to see early encouraging signs from what we’ve done so far.”

Bakery lines

In order to take on the challenging market place, Tesco has outlined plans to improve pricing on branded products, and said further price cuts on “essential products” such as bread had taken effect last month.

As the supermarket price war escalates, the retailer has also dropped Kingsmill bread from its shelves as it follows a more volume driven strategy.

In the preliminary results, it said it would be carrying out a review of product ranges over an 18-month period - with one source outside the company suggesting there could be more bakery delistings.

Lewis said: “By focusing on the fundamentals of availability, service and targeted price reductions, we have seen a steady increase in footfall, transactions and, most significantly, volumes. More customers are buying more things at Tesco.” 

Outlook

The retailer said it did not expect the challenging market to change in the near future and would continue to focus on three main priorities- regaining competitiveness in its UK business; protecting and strengthening the balance sheet; and rebuilding trust and transparency in the business and the brand.

It said: "The immediate priority for these and any other savings delivered is reinvestment in the customer offer in order to further restore UK competitiveness."

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