Tesco has reported a 5% rise in annual revenues for its Irish operations to just under €2.7bn. The British supermarket giant said like-for-like sales across its shops in the Republic in its most recent financial year grew by 1.3%.
“In a competitive market, we have continued to make good progress during the year, growing volumes across all food categories,” the company said regarding its performance in Ireland.
Tesco’s financial year runs to the final week in February. Figures covering the 12 weeks to March 24 — published last week by consumer insights agency Kantar Worldpanel — showed that the company holds a 21.2% joint second largest share of the Irish grocery market. Its over-the-counter sales during the latest period were up by 0.6%.
Tesco Ireland chief executive Kari Daniels said the Irish division is confident of building on recent performance. On a group-wide basis, Tesco confirmed a performance turnaround by posting a forecast-beating rise in annual profits.
Celebrating its 100th year, Tesco is deep into a recovery plan under chief executive Dave Lewis after a 2014 accounting scandal capped a dramatic downturn in its fortunes.
“After four years, we have met or are about to meet the vast majority of our turnaround goals,” the former Unilever executive said.
The 2018-19 results reflected revamped relationships with suppliers, lower prices versus major competitors, simplified and better quality product ranges and improved store standards.
Aside from working capital, Tesco beat market forecasts for profit, and said it was firmly on track to meet its margin goals. Operating profit jumped 34% to £2.21bn (€2.6bn), while the company declared a dividend of 5.77p per share, up 92%.
Group sales rose 11.5% to £56.9bn, and Tesco recorded its 13th quarter of like-for-like sales growth in its main UK market with a 1.7% rise in the final quarter.
The improvements have helped Tesco steer a steady course through a period of industry turmoil, as Britain prepares to leave the EU and as Tesco’s two biggest competitors try to merge to become the new industry number one.
Customers were suffering “Brexit fatigue”, Mr Lewis said, but were not changing their shopping habits or stockpiling.
Tesco has a leading 27.4% share of Britain’s grocery market and looks set to retain that place after the UK competition regulator said it was minded to block Sainsbury’s takeover of Asda.
Additional reporting Reuters