Tesco unveils massive profits

Britain's leading supermarket chain, Tesco, has unveiled profits of £2.2 billion for the past year.

The profits increase represents a rise of nearly 17% on the previous year's figures.

The supermarket chain's latest figures showed a 13.2% increase in group sales over the last year.

Both international and UK sales increased - by 23% and 10.7% respectively.

Like-for-like sales in the UK - which exclude new store openings - rose by 7.5%.

Fourth quarter like-for-like sales growth, excluding petrol, was 4.9%.

Tesco, which overtook Sainsbury's as the UK's biggest supermarket chain in 1995, took £32.7 billion in sales from shoppers in the domestic market during the year to the end of February.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said that the results represented "good progress across the group in a more challenging year".

Tesco also announced plans to release £5 billion of cash from property transactions over the next five years, using £1.5 billion to buy back shares.

The supermarket chain had been accused of buying up sites in order to prevent competitors purchasing the land.

However, the claims were denied by Sir Terry who said that any land owned by the firm, which could not be developed for Tesco, would be sold on.

Tesco also confirmed that over 20,000 new jobs would be created worldwide this year and unveiled plans to establish a £100 million capital fund to invest in environmental technology.


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