StockMarketWire.com - Tesco reported a large jump in annual profit and upped its dividend as the supermarket chain's recovery got into full swing.

Pre-tax profit jumped to £1.30bn, up from just £145m in 2016, when the company was starting to recover from a string of big losses and write-downs.

Tesco declared a final dividend of 2p per share, adding to the 1p per share paid at the first half. In the previous financial year, the company didn't pay any dividends.

Revenue grew by 2.8% to £57.5bn, while UK like-for-like sales grew by 2.2% amid a strong performance in food, offset by a weak performance in general merchandise.

Operating profit, before exceptional items, rose 28.4% to £1.64bn.

Operating margins increased by 57 basis points to 2.9% and stood at 3.0% in the second half, which the company said put it 'well on track' for its 3.5-4.0% target for the 2020 fiscal year.

'This has been another year of strong progress, with the ninth consecutive quarter of growth,' chief executive Dave Lewis said.

'More people are choosing to shop at Tesco and our brand is stronger, as customers recognise improvements in both quality and value.'

'We are generating significant levels of cash and net debt is down by almost £6bn over the last three years. All of this puts us firmly on track to deliver our medium-term ambitions and create long-term value for every stakeholder in Tesco.'





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