Tesco PLC’s Profit Beats Market Forecasts

Shares in Tesco (LSE: TSCO) added 12p, or 4%, to 298p during early trade this morning, after the UK’s largest grocer unveiled a decline in profits for the second year running. 

tescoThe decline, however, wasn’t as bad as the market feared. Group profit fell to £3.3bn from £3.5bn in 2014, a fall of 6% against a 12% fall the year prior, impacted by a “weakening” UK grocery market and challenging trading conditions overseas.

Tesco added that like-for-like sales, excluding VAT and petrol, were down 3%.

The full year dividend was maintained at 14.76p with 2.1 times earnings coverage.

The chief executive, Philip Clarke, commented:

“We are transforming Tesco through a relentless focus on providing the most compelling offer for our customers.  Our results today reflect the challenges we face in a trading environment which is changing more rapidly than ever before.  We are determined to lead the industry in this period of change.”

After this morning’s price movement Tesco shares may trade on a forward P/E of 11.

Of course, the decision to ‘buy’ — based on today’s results, the wider prospects for the grocery sector, or perhaps a belief that the shares will slide further yet into bargain territory — remains up to you.

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Mark does not own shares in Tesco. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.