Tesco to exit U.S.; profit nosedives

AFP-JIJI, Bloomberg

British supermarket giant Tesco announced Wednesday that its annual net profits slumped 95 percent, and confirmed its costly exit from the U.S. market.

Britain’s largest retailer took a £1.2 billion ($1.84 billion) charge to end the Fresh & Easy business as it reported its first annual profit drop in almost 20 years. Earnings after taxation tumbled to £124 million ($190 million) in its 2012-2013 financial year, compared with £2.81 billion last time around, Tesco said in a statement.

The withdrawal from the U.S. marks CEO Philip Clarke’s second international retreat in as many years, after having to pay about £40 million ($61 million) last year to exit Japan.

The retailer also said it took an £804 million ($1.2 billion) charge to write down the value of properties it no longer plans to develop as it scales back U.K. store openings.