Horsemeat scandal hits Tesco sales

Suzie Neuwirth

TESCO’S UK sales fell in the first quarter, as it struggles to recover its reputation from the discovery of horsemeat in some of its products labelled as beef.

Sales excluding VAT and petrol decreased by one per cent during the period, despite the supermarket chain recently outlining a turnaround plan to regain customers in its domestic market.

“In April, we set out our approach for growth and returns for the group, including a number of appropriate and realistic objectives for the years ahead and we have started the year on track, despite a continued difficult economic environment for consumers,” said chief executive Philip Clarke.

“This is notwithstanding our planned work on general merchandise, which has held back sales in the UK, and a small but discernible impact on frozen and chilled convenience food sales due to the customer response to equine DNA being detected in four products.”

International sales also faced challenging conditions this quarter, down 4.6 per cent, impacted by regulatory restrictions in Korea and a food safety scare in China.