Tesco 'on track' despite drop in UK sales

Tesco: Q1 UK sales excluding VAT and petrol down 1%
Tesco: Q1 UK sales excluding VAT and petrol down 1%

Philip Clarke, Tesco's chief executive, has insisted that the retailer's UK brand revitalisation programme remains "on track", despite a fall in first-quarter profits.

The supermarket giant this morning revealed a 1% drop in like-for-like UK sales, excluding VAT and petrol, over the 13 weeks to 25 May.

Group sales, excluding petrol, increased by 2.7%. Tesco has invested £1bn in a turnaround plan for its UK business, dubbed "Building a Better Tesco in the UK ", as it aims to improve retail stores and customer service.

The supermarket’s marketing has focused on its Price Promise price-matching scheme – which is under fire from rivals Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – and Tesco boss Clarke claims UK consumers are "embracing" the initiative.

Clarke also cited the growth of Tesco’s Click & Collect grocery service and the strong performance of its F&F clothing range as reasons for optimism.

He said: "We have set out our plans to put customers back at the heart of the way we do business, and this is particularly evident in our recent initiatives on price and on food trust.

"Customers across the UK are embracing Price Promise and we are encouraged by performance in our core fresh-food categories and uplifts from refreshed stores."

He added that economic conditions in the UK "remain challenging" and that Tesco sees no likely improvement to the economy in the near-term.

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