Belfast Telegraph

New Tesco boss to set out strategy to revitalise chain

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

New Tesco boss Dave Lewis will set out his plans to turn around the fortunes of Britain's biggest supermarket when it publishes latest trading figures on Thursday.

The former Unilever executive is due to unveil his strategy to shore up the group's position in the UK grocery sector and bolster its cash war chest.

A sell-off of Tesco's outposts in Asia and central Europe as well as non-core brands such as UK download business Blinkbox are among the options open to Mr Lewis as he seeks to focus on its main supermarket operations.

The chief executive has focused on increasing product availability and staff in stores but analysts expect head-office jobs could be at risk.

Mr Lewis has also not ruled out the possibility of a cash call on shareholders as the group gears up for the latest round of the intense price war that has gripped the sector amid a squeeze by discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Details of his plans are expected to be unveiled alongside a trading update which will include third-quarter figures as well as Tesco's subsequent six-week performance covering the key Christmas period.

It is expected to reveal more sliding sales to book-end a dismal 2014 which saw the departure of Mr Lewis's predecessor Philip Clarke as well as a £263m accounting scandal and a series of profit warnings.

The announcement comes during a key week for retailers as they publish festive trading figures, with Marks & Spencer's due on the same day and Sainsbury's due to publish a day earlier tomorrow. Morrisons reports next week.

Tesco has said its update will include measures it plans "to improve the competitiveness of the UK customer offer and to strengthen the balance sheet".

It remains haunted by the accounting scandal, which surfaced in the autumn and involved rebates from suppliers being moved around to different periods in its profit-and-loss figures, going back at least as far as 2012/13. The Serious Fraud Office is investigating.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular