Tesco CEO says UK business “can do better”

Tesco says it must improve its marketing to drive growth in the UK after reporting falling sales in the final quarter of the year.


In his first trading update since taking over from Sir Terry Leahy as Tesco CEO, Philip Clarke says the UK business missed its planned growth targets for the year and “can do better”.

Like for like sales in the UK, which strip out new stores and space fell 0.7% in the final quarter and were flat for the year.

He warns that the UK market remains subdued as consumers face higher taxes, public sector cuts and rising fuel costs and outlined six objectives to drive the business that Tesco will report on directly in all future trading updates.

Clarke says: “We didn’t achieve our planned growth in the year and this was only partly attributable to the deterioration in the consumer environment during the second half. We can do better and we are taking action in key areas – for example, to drive a faster rate of product innovation and to improve the sharpness of our communication to customers.”

Tesco reported group sales were up 8.1% to £67.6bn and a 12.3% increase in pre-tax profit to £3.8bn for the 52 weeks to 26 February.

Tesco’s operations in Asia and Europe contributing nearly 70% of the group’s profit growth in the year but Clarke admits its Fresh and Easy chain in the US “still has some way to go.”

He sounded a note of optimism for an “improving global economic environment”.

Clarke’s six objectives are:

  • Keeping the UK strong and growing
  • Becoming outstanding internationally
  • Becoming a multi-channel retailer wherever Tesco trades
  • Delivering on the potential of retailing services such as Tesco Bank
  • Applying group skill and scale to deliver more value and increase competitive advantage
  • Deliver higher return for shareholders

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here