Tesco profit up thanks to Asian markets

Tesco said it would step up innovation in a bid to improve its performance in a tough UK market, as it met forecasts with a rise in annual profit driven by Asian markets.

New chief executive Phil Clarke, who took over from Terry Leahy last month, said on he was setting six objectives for the British supermarket group, including reviving flagging sales of general merchandise goods.

"We didn't achieve our planned growth in the year and this was only partly attributable to the deterioration in the consumer environment during the second half," Clarke said of Tesco's performance in Britain, where it makes over two-thirds of sales and profits.

"We can do better and we are taking action in key areas – for example, to drive a faster rate of product innovation and to improve the sharpness of our communication to customers."

Tesco, which trails Carrefour and industry leader Wal-Mart by sales, posted a 12.3 per cent rise profit before tax and one-off items, but including property deals, of £3.8bns in the year to February.