Tesco restores dividend as profits rise

BRITAIN-RETAIL-FOOD-EARNINGS-BUSINESS-TESCO

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis has hailed "strong progress" at the supermarket as sales rose for the seventh quarter in a row. It was 183 pence at 1444 GMT.

Tesco shares were down 0.1 percent to 189.8 pence at 0850 BST on October 4.

Two members of Tesco's financial team resigned in 2014 because they were concerned that their professional integrity was being compromised by what they were being asked to do by their bosses, a court heard on Tuesday.

Mr Lewis cheered the group's move to resume paying shareholder dividends for the first time since it was thrown into crisis after an accounting scandal in 2014, with a 1p a share interim payout. Further, Tesco resumed its dividend, for the first time since 2014/15 accounting scandal.

'While we anticipated this return to the dividend list, we still consider this a strong indication from the company that it is indeed on track for a full recovery, ' he said.

Mr Lewis said that Tesco was "shocked" by the discovery and that the supermarket had audited the factory's food quality commitments.

"We've fundamentally transformed the way we run our business", he said.

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In Tesco's prime market, the United Kingdom, like-for-like turnover grew 2.2 % and there was a 1.1 % increase in Ireland.

Group operating profit before exceptional items in the 26 weeks to August 26 increased by 23.7 percent at constant exchange rates to 759 million pounds, compared with the same period a year earlier. Sales increased 3.3 percent to 25.2 billion pounds.

United Kingdom like-for-like sales in the second quarter lifted 2.1%, although this marked a slowdown against 2.3% in the previous three months.

Cost savings helped to push up the operating margin, to 2.7% from 2.2% a year ago, enabling it to reiterate its medium target for a 3.5% to 4.0% margin.

The pension deficit was also halved to £2.4bn from £5.5bn in February, and the half triennial pension review was concluded with annual contributions increasing by £15m to £285m from April 2018.

According to analysts, Tesco [IRDX RTSC] is ahead of the game in the United Kingdom with apps and the work it has done on mobile is likely to see it continue to perform well and bring the fight to other grocery retailers. Last week 2 Sisters suspended operations at the site so it could re-train staff.

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