Tesco has reported the worst results in its history with a record statutory pre-tax loss of £6.4bn for the year to the end of February.
That compares with annual pre-tax profit of £2.26bn a year earlier.
It is the biggest loss suffered by a UK retailer and one of the largest in the country’s corporate history.
Around £4.7bn of the losses were the result of the fall in property value of its UK stores, 43 of which it said would close earlier this month.
Dave Lewis, chief executive at Tesco commented: “It has been a very difficult year for Tesco. 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.”
“Over the last six months we have put customers back at the centre of everything we do. 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.”
“We are making deep changes to the way we organise and run our business, with a simpler, more agile office team, more colleagues serving customers and a new approach to the way we work with suppliers. I do not underestimate how difficult some of these changes have been for the team and I thank everyone for their professionalism and contribution at this time of great change.”
“The market is still challenging and we are not expecting any let up in the months ahead. When you add to this the fundamental changes we are making to our business and our offer, it is likely to lead to an increased level of volatility in short-term performance. Our clear priority – and the one that will deliver sustainable value for our shareholders – is to improve consistently for customers. The changes we have made and will continue to make put us in a stronger position to do this.”