Tesco lowers full-year trading profit range

LONDON Thu Jan 9, 2014 3:25am EST

LONDON Jan 9 (Reuters) - Tesco, the world's third biggest retailer, said it had lowered its range for full-year trading profit after another heavy drop in underlying sales in its main British market.

The group, which on Thursday posted a 2.4 percent fall in sales at British stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, for the six weeks to Jan. 4, said the change was due to further weakness in the grocery market and a greater than expected shift of general merchandise in the industry to online.

"The range has moved (down) at the top end by about 50 million pounds ($82.35 million) and at the bottom end it has moved nearly 150 million pounds down on the range," Tesco Chief Financial Officer Laurie Mcllwee told reporters.

"There are a new set of forecasts in the market that are more up to date with these very big changes and more appropriately reflect where we think our eventual outcome will be."

Tesco said it now expected to report a full year group trading profit within the range of current market expectations, which it said ranged between 3.16 billion pounds and 3.41 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.6072 British pounds)

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