Britain's Largest Grocer Posts Record Profits

11 April 2002

The largest profit ever made by any retailer based in Britain was reported Wednesday by Tesco, the nation’s largest supermarket group. Nor is this likely to be a laurel on which Tesco will rest: there are still “many years” of domestic expansion left, assures chief executive Terry Leahy.

Reporting annual profits 14% up to £1.2 billion ($1.72bn; €1.96bn) for fiscal ended February 23, Leahy boasted: “There are lots of places where customers want a Tesco store and there is lots of space for bigger stores. We have more than enough growth [potential] in the UK.”

But there is no pleasing the entrail-rakers, few of whom would understand the onus of executive responsibility even if fired at them by a Cruise missile. While eulogising the company’s dynamic organic expansion, some analysts expressed concern at the group’s less swift international growth.

Tesco, which has 47% of its sales space overseas, hiked its international division profits by 61% to £119 million despite declining sales growth outside the UK. This Tesco blames on the fragile economies in central Europe and South-East Asia.

Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff