British retailer Tesco posts surging annual profits

20th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco on Tuesday unveiled soaring annual net profits, aided by a strong performance in Asia, and said it will create 16,000 jobs after emerging strongly from the recession.

Net profits jumped by 9.3 percent to 2.327 billion pounds (2.65 billion euros, 3.570 billion dollars) in the group's financial year which ran until the end of February, Tesco said in a results statement.

That compared with 2.133 billion pounds in the previous year and beat market expectations of 2.32 billion, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Tesco added that underlying pre-tax profits leapt by 10.1 percent to strike a record 3.4 billion pounds. Revenues, meanwhile, grew 6.8 percent to 62.537 billion pounds.

"By remaining focused on our strategy Tesco has weathered the economic storm well," chief executive Terry Leahy said in the earnings statement.

"Our positions in international markets and non-food meant we faced strong headwinds when the downturn came but it will be these parts of our business which will grow fastest as the recovery strengthens."

He added: "Across all parts of our strategy -- UK, international, non-food, services -- our business is now stronger than it was before the recession.

"With leaner operations, improved market shares, strategic acquisitions performing well and a strong organic development programme, we're well placed for sustained profitable growth."

The company also issued plans to create 16,000 jobs this year, including 9,000 new positions in Britain.

Tesco currently employs more than 460,000 people in 14 countries around the world and has a major presence in Asia including in China, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.

"We have delivered a strong performance in Asia despite challenging economic conditions in the region," Tesco said.

"We have grown sales and profits well -- driven by new space and the strong performance of the stores acquired in Korea in 2008, which are now profitable.

"As economies generally in Asia start to recover we are seeing improving sales trends in all our businesses except Japan, where economic conditions remain subdued."

© 2010 AFP

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