Dave Lewis calls Tesco sales drop “a step in the right direction”

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis is set to make an "exciting" announcement on September 19
Outgoing Tesco CEO Dave Lewis will remain in the role until September

Tesco UK's first quarter results have been published, showing a fall of 1.3% in the company's sales



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26 June 2015

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Tesco UK’s sales have taken another slight tumble this quarter, registering a drop of 1.3% in its like-for-like sales. Despite the drop, CEO Dave Lewis called the news “a step in the right direction”, pointing out the results were actually an improvement on the 4% fall in the same period last year, and also on the 1.7% decline in the last period.

Commenting on the company’s quarterly results, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said such volatility is likely to remain a feature of the company’s short-term performance. “The market is still challenging,” he said, “but these first quarter results represent another step in the right direction.”

Separate figures show that in the 12 weeks up to 24th May, 180,000 more customers shopped in Tesco, which Lewis put down to improvements the retailer has made in its operations. “”We set out to serve our customers a little better every day,” he said, “and the improvements we are making are starting to have an effect.”

After analysing Tesco’s Q1 results, David Gray, Retail Analyst at Planet Retail, agreed that Lewis’s recovery programme appears to be bearing fruit. “The like-for-like numbers are better than some rivals, notably Asda,” Gray said, “while signs of a return to volume growth – one of Lewis’ key objectives – are discernible.

“Considering the headwinds of flat or falling food prices, the UK figures are a step in the right direction – or, at the very least, still better than this time last year,” he added.

Today is a big day for the company – the first annual meeting of shareholders is set to take place, the company’s first since last year’s £263m profits scandal that prompted Lewis’s predecessor’s departure from the CEO position.

Meanwhile, Tesco’s sales in Ireland fell by 4.4% – compared to 5.6% a year ago – while Asian revenue dropped by 3%, a slight improvement on the 3.2% fall in first quarter of last year. Gray called the Asian market “a real headache” for Tesco, suggesting that the company may decide to pull out of Korea altogether in the near future – if the price is right.




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