Tesco doubles six-month profit

Tesco says it has “outperformed” the grocery sector, with first-half sales and profit ahead of expectations.

Britain’s biggest supermarket chain recorded sales of £27.3bn for the six months to August, a rise of 2.6% compared to the same period last year.

UK like-for-like sales were up 1.2%, although Tesco said that some of the recent sales growth was likely to “fall away” in the coming months.

Half-year profit before tax doubled to £1.1bn from £551m a year ago, boosted by a reduction in pandemic-related costs.

The company said that its supply chain had demonstrated “resilience” despite lorry driver shortages, and product availability in stores remained good.

Chief executive Ken Murphy told journalists on a conference call that there will be “bumps in the road” in the run-up to Christmas but overall the company is “in good shape” for the crucial festive period, BBC News reported.

Based on its strong first-half performance, Tesco has increased its full-year outlook and now expects operating profit for the year of between £2.5bn and £2.6bn — up from an earlier forecast of £2.3bn.

Tesco is the UK grocery market leader with a market share of 27%.