Tesco suffers record annual loss of £6.4 billion

Reuters/Toby Melville

(Reuters) – Tesco plunged to an annual loss of 6.4 billion pounds on Wednesday, the worst in its 96-year history, after shoppers deserted Britain’s biggest retailer and forced it to write down the value of its stores.

Hurt by an accounting scandal and a price war sparked by the march of discount groups Aldi and Lidl, the supermarket wrote down the value of its business by 7 billion pounds to reflect restructuring charges and the lower sales its stores were making.

The statutory loss, which also includes stock writedowns, is one of the biggest in British corporate history.

“The market is still challenging and we are not expecting any let up in the months ahead,” said Dave Lewis, a former Unilever executive who has impressed investors with his decisive action since he joined in September.

Analysts said the full-year results were broadly in line with expectations, but the writedown was larger than forecast. Shares in the group were up 1.3 percent in early trading.

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