Tesco has reported a 29% jump in profit and hiked its dividend, saying its performance was “strong” in an “uncertain market”.
Pre-tax profits rose 28.8% year on year to £1.67bn for the 12 months to December 2018 as revenue grew 11.2% to £63.9bn. Like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland rose 2.9%, including Tesco UK at 1.7% and Booker at 11.1%, representing the third full year of growth.
Investors were told to expect a final dividend of 4.10p per ordinary share, taking the total dividend for the year to 5.77p per ordinary share, up 92.3% year-on-year.
C.e.o. Dave Lewis, who oversaw the takeover of wholesaler Booker in 2017, said: “After four years we have met or are about to meet the vast majority of our turnaround goals. I’m very confident that we will complete the journey in 2019/20.
“I’m delighted with the broad-based improvement across the business. We have restored our competitiveness for customers - including through the introduction of ‘Exclusively at Tesco’ - and rebuilt a sustainable base of profitability. The full year margin of 3.45% represents clear progress and the second half level of 3.79%, even before the benefit of Booker, puts us comfortably in the aspirational range we set four years ago.
“I’m pleased that we are able to accelerate the recovery in the dividend as a result of our continued capital discipline and strong improvement in cash profitability.”