Tesco's first quarter sales down 1.3% but heralded as 'step in the right direction'

Chief executive Dave Lewis said that volatility in the company's short term results was likely to remain due to a challenging market

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Tesco has said that it has taken “another step in the right direction” after UK like-for-like sales fell by 1.3 per cent in the first quarter of the financial year.

Despite the fall, the supermarket giant said that the results had been an improvement on the 4 per cent fall in the same period last year. The figures are a 1.7 per cent decrease on the previous quarter’s results.

Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, said that the company’s short-term performance was likely to remain volatile while the market was challenging.

The company’s sales in Ireland fell by 4.4 per cent compared to 5.6 per cent one year ago, while the Asian revenue decreased by 3 per cent, a slight increase on  the first quarter of last year.

Tesco announced that figures from Kantar Worldpanel, a market research organisation, showed that 180,000 more customers had visited the supermarket chain in the 12 weeks to 24 May.

Mr Lewis said: “These first quarter results represent another step in the right direction.

“We set to serve our customers a little better every day and the improvements we are making are starting to have an effect.

“This improvements have come during the restructuring of our office and store management teams, which testifies to the focus, skill and commitment of colleagues across the business.”

The results come ahead of a Tesco annual shareholder meeting amid concern among investors over its chairman and pay-offs to its former chief executive.

Philip Clarke, former chief executive of Tesco, was given a £1.2million pay-off in February on top of his £764,000 salary until mid-January.

Annual figures released in April showed that Tesco had suffered one of the biggest losses in corporate history at £6.4bn and would find it challenging to return to profit this year.

Additional Reporting: PA

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