Tesco Plc, Britain's biggest retail group, on Wednesday reported strong sales growth but a slump in profits in the first half of its financial year, after lowering prices in an "uncertain" market.
Group sales rose by 3.3 per cent to 24.4 billion pounds (31.2 billion dollars) year-on-year in the six months to the end of August, while statutory pre-tax profit fell 28 per cent to 71 million pounds, the retail giant said.
Tesco said it had made "significant progress against all three priorities" of becoming more competitive in the British retail market, returning a "more secure" balance sheet by reducing its net debt by 800 million pounds since the end of last year, and "rebuilding trust" among consumers.
"We have made further strong progress in the first half, with positive like-for-like sales growth across all parts of the group as we re-invest in our customer offer whilst rebuilding profitability in a sustainable way," Dave Lewis, Tesco's chief executive, said in a statement.
"Prices are more than 6 per cent lower than two years ago, availability and service have never been better and our range is more compelling," Lewis said.
"Whilst the market is uncertain, we have made significant progress against the priorities we set out two years ago, stabilizing the business and positioning us well for the future," he said.