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Tesco plunges 15% on fresh profit warning

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Tesco shares have opened 15 per cent lower after the retailer said full-year profits will come in below market expectations.

The supermarket said in a trading update this morning that trading profit for the year to 28 February 2015 will not exceed £1.4bn, below the £1.7bn-£2.2bn range predicted by analysts.

Its shares opened down more than 15 per cent at below 160p, a fresh decade low. Its woes dragged down supermarket peers; Sainsbury was 4 per cent lower at 226p, with Morrison down 4.8 per cent at 176p.

Tesco chief Dave Lewis, who today marks 100 days in charge of the once all-conquering retailer, said the supermarket “will not engage in short term actions that compromise in any way our offer for customers”.

Tesco added it has retrained its entire commercial team following the £263m profit overstatement relating to how it booked rebates from suppliers revealed in September.

The retailer has also added 6,000 new staff in store, increased the availability of products in certain areas and “invested in price”, it said in the statement.

“On 8 January we will share more detail about the measures we plan to take to improve the competitiveness of the UK customer offer and to strengthen the balance sheet,” the company outlined.

“On the basis of the changes and investments made to date we now anticipate group trading profit for the financial year ending February 2015 will not exceed £1.4bn.”

Dan Jones

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