Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis has said the supermarket’s turnaround is almost complete, after profits at the business were up 28.8% to £1.67bn in the financial year ending 23 February.
Sales at Tesco UK were up 1.7% across the year, and it slightly lost market share as Aldi and Lidl continued to open more stores. But an 11.1% growth at Booker, which Tesco acquired in 2017, meant total UK and Ireland sales were up 2.9%.
Across the group, including Tesco’s businesses in central Europe and Asia, sales were up 1.4% – but Lewis said every section of the business was now profitable.
"I’m delighted with the broad-based improvement across the business," he said. "We have restored our competitiveness for customers – including through the introduction of Exclusively at Tesco – and rebuilt a sustainable base of profitability."
Lewis said the Exclusively at Tesco range, which consists of a series of brands that have replaced the former Everyday Value range, now includes about 400 items and distribution is being extended across all stores.
He added that when you look at a basket of key lines from Exclusively at Tesco, "you can buy that basket more cheaply at Tesco than at our more value-oriented competitors" – referring to Aldi and Lidl.
Lewis said he had been "really very happy" with the launch of Jack’s, the discounter-style supermarket brand introduced by Tesco last year. Nine stores have opened so far and the plan remains for this to grow to up to 15 by the end of this year, he added.
Asked about the impact of Brexit, which as of this morning (Wednesday) is still set to take place on Friday evening with no deal in place, Lewis said he had seen "quite a lot of fatigue" from consumers, but added: "I’m not seeing any change in buying behaviour."