Tesco says turnaround "firmly on track" as sales rise

Tesco has reported a surge in its half-year profits as it continues to see rising sales, and will resume dividend payments to investors.

Group sales increased by 0.7 percent to 25.2 billion pounds.

"However CEO Dave Lewis will no doubt argue that in a world where Sainsbury's owns Argos, and Morrisons is flirting with Amazon, he needs to push Tesco on to stay ahead of the game".

In addition, Britain's largest supermarket said it would pay a 1p dividend, after announcing a 71.8p percent increase in half year profits to £885 million.

The U.K.'s biggest grocer by market share made a pretax profit of 562 million pounds ($744.5 million) for the 26 weeks ended August 26, compared with a pretax profit of GBP71 million a year earlier.

Tesco agreed to pay a fine of £129m to the Serious Fraud Office earlier this year to avoid prosecution for its 2014 accounting irregularities scandal.

Revenue rose 3.7 per cent, from £27.3bn to £28.3bn.

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He said: "It's a significant milestone in the recovery of the business and one which demonstrates the confidence we and the board have in our plans".

Tesco has also reduced its net debt from £4.4bn past year to £3.3bn in H1 2017/18.

'Management's long-term ambition to offer a dividend that is covered two times by earnings per share looks perfectly sensible, even if the prospective 1.7% yield on offer for this year may not be enough to excite income seekers just yet'.

ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson said Tesco's drive to keep down prices was giving the company "an edge over the other big players in terms of coping with discounters", such as growing German players in the United Kingdom market, Aldi and Lidl.

But the group has come under heavy fire in recent days over its own-brand chicken after it was discovered that supplier 2 Sisters had taken Lidl chicken and repackaged it under Tesco's Willow Farms brand.

Chief executive Dave Lewis said the company was now "more competitive and more customers are shopping at Tesco" as it sought to keep prices low despite the threat of inflation and continuing economic uncertainty since the Brexit referendum.

Tesco sales return to growth. Media reports suggest that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is expected to give its provisional findings by next month and a final decision by December.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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