Tesco racks up record £6.38bn loss in worst year in supermarket's history

Lynsey Barber
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Tesco has had its worst ever year (Source: Getty)

Tesco has racked up a £6.38bn loss - the worst year in the supermarket's 96-year history. It's one of the biggest losses ever made by a UK company, and the biggest ever made by a British retailer.

The beleaguered supermarket's pre-tax losses for the year are even higher than the £5bn markets had been expecting.

One-off charges of £7bn were taken, largely in relation to its property portfolio. That includes a £3.8bn impairment charge on its trading stores and £925m on 49 planned mothballed stores.

Dave Lewis, who took over from Philip Clarke in September, alongside newly installed chairman John Allan will be hoping to bookend Tesco's annus horribilis in which the UK's biggest supermarket came unstuck.

"It has been a very difficult year for Tesco," said Lewis. "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."

Plans to turn around the struggling retailer through cost-cutting measures and restructuring have garnered support, with Tesco's share price up 24 per cent since the start of the year since hitting an 11-year low in December. Tesco shares opened one per cent up this morning.

Tesco has agreed to plug its pension deficit with £270m a year.

Like-for-like sales excluding fuel across the group were down three per cent on the previous year to £69.65bn. In the UK, sales fell 3.6 per cent to £48.2bn as it lost ground to discounters.

However the fourth quarter was promising as it improved performance and gained back some share of the market after previously losing ground.

The UK grocery market remains highly competitive with macro-economic deflationary pressure and significant price investment across the industry. For the year as a whole, UK like-for-like sales excluding fuel declined by 3.6 per cent but we saw an improving trend into the second half driven by investments across the offer. Customer transactions, having been in decline since the beginning of 2012, increased by 1.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, with like-for-like sales performance improving to a one per cent decline.

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