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LONDON -- Britain's largest food retailer, Tesco Plc, this morning reported that it beat its forecasts with 14.7 percent jump in annual profits while plucking customers from weaker rivals, Reuters reports.
Noting that Tesco's pre-tax profit gains of 1.40 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) through February 22 have bucked the sagging trend in the U.K.'s core markets, c.e.o. Terry Leahy says: "It has become a winners and losers market...we are winning customers. As people look for more value in uncertain times they come to Tesco."
The UK market leader with a share of nearly 26 percent of grocery spending is vying with four others to take over smaller rival Safeway Plc, though the competition authorities are scrutinizing its approach and three of the others.
Analysts' forecasts for underlying profits were in a range of 1.337-1.399 billion pounds.
The company's shares, which have performed in line with the pan-European consumer cyclicals sector over the last 12 months, were up 3.30 percent at 195-1/2 pence at 1204 GMT. Group sales grew by 11.5 percent to 28.6 billion pounds, led by international sales, which jumped 31.2 percent to 5.2 billion pounds - marking the success of its strategy of expanding in high-growth overseas markets, such as South Korea and Thailand.