Tesco’s turnaround continued to gather momentum as sales at the retailer increased for the seventh quarter in a row.
Like-for-like sales, excluding new store openings, increased by 2.1 per cent in the second quarter, with pre-tax profits also rising to £562 million for the first half of the year. This is a dramatic increase on the £71m generated during the same period in 2016-17.
Tesco said it introduced over 800 new products during the period, including miniature avocados, branded as 'zilla eggs' and a 'fun-shaped' vegetable range for kids.
The retailer said it has also doubled volumes with around 100 suppliers to date and has worked to use entire crops during flushes in products including strawberries, lemons and cauliflowers.
In a move that retailer said reflected “board confidence”, Tesco paid its shareholders an interim dividend of 1p per share – the first time it has done so in three years.
“Sales are up, profits are up, cash generation continues to strengthen and net debt levels are less than half what they were when we started our turnaround three years ago,” said Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.
“Today’s announcement that we are resuming our dividend reflects our confidence that we can build on our strong performance to date.”
Tesco's farm brands – which include Suntrail and Rosedene Farms for fruit, Redmere Farms for vegetables, and Nightingale Farms for salad – have been credited with helping it compete with Aldi and Lidl in a changed marketplace, BBC News reported.