Tesco recovery fails to ignite growth in sales

Kasmira Jefford
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TESCO reported its fourth consecutive quarter of falling sales yesterday as the grocer’s £1bn recovery plan following its shock profit warning in January struggled to gain pace.

Britain’s largest retailer said UK like-for-like sales excluding VAT and fuel fell 1.5 per cent in the 13 weeks to 26 May, only slightly up on a 1.6 per cent decline in the last quarter.

But chief executive Philip Clarke defended the group’s performance and described it as steady and improving “relative to the market”.

He said “very little” of the £1bn planned investment had been spent but added that shoppers are responding well to changes made in stores.

“They’re telling us they like what they see,” he said.

The firm saw its best week for sales outside a Christmas period ahead of the Jubilee with over £1bn in sales.

“It is not getting any worse, but it’s not getting any better. The great hope would be that fuel prices are going to come down,” Clarke said, remaining bearish on the outlook.