Retailer Tesco's profit falls again amid European writedowns

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Retailer Tesco's profit falls again amid European writedowns

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Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, has again posted a fall in annual profit and said it expected tough times to continue.

Trading profit was down six percent – its second straight year of decline.

The world’s third-largest retailer, which has over half a million employees, suffered a three percent decline in sales in its home market Britain.

It wrote down the value of its European businesses by the equivalent of 892 million euros and took a 656 million euro charge in China.

The company has pledged to win back shoppers with price cuts.

Tesco boss Philip Clarke rejected calls from investors for him to quit or change tack, as several expressed worries about a price war.

Clarke insisted he would see through his “bold” plan to rebuild the company, which had been the darling of the sector during two decades of uninterrupted earnings growth before a shock profit warning in 2012.

The chain has been squeezed between increasingly popular discount groups – like Lidl and Aldi – and upmarket grocers such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

As a result its British market share has fallen to a near 10-year low of 28.6 percent.

Britain’s three other leading supermarket chains – Wal-Mart’s Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – have suffered similarly.

Tesco’s trading profit for the year to Feb. 22 was 3.3 billion pounds (4.01 billion euros), in line with forecasts.

Group underlying pretax profit fell 6.9 percent to 3.05 billion pounds (3.7 billion euros) in the year.

Overseas, group trading profit was down 5.6 percent in Asia and down 28 percent in Europe, with a slump in trade in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey and Ireland.