Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said he is determined to see through the turnaround of Tesco and vowed the grocer will emerge as a leader once again.
Clarke, speaking today after the grocer reported another fall in full-year profits, said it is not for him to comment on whether he has the full support of shareholders. Rather, he said, “my job is to run Tesco for customers”.
He added: “I have no intention of going anywhere, and I’m going to see this thing through.”
Clarke has been under pressure in recent weeks with rumblings of unhappy investors and some analysts questioning his strategy.
However, he said he has a “clear strategy” and a “relentless focus to deliver it”.
Tesco finance director Laurie McIlwee, who resigned at the start of this month, also dismissed rumours that he did not believe in the strategy.
McIlwee said he believed Tesco was doing the right thing on EDLP, creating a differentiated range, maintaining the right strategy on proximity retail, building loyalty through Clubcard and making its large stores compelling.
Clarke has been criticized by some analysts for not been competitive enough on price. The grocer revealed £200m price cuts in February on basics such as bread and milk but many have said this is not enough to fight the discounters.
Clarke said: “£200m is just a start. We are already 24% cheaper on average on many products and we have a big and bold plan to give customers better value during 2014.”
He said he would not give a headline figure of further cuts but has the flexibility to act wherever needed.
On the discounters, Clarke said they are “very formidable”. He added: “When you try to be lower on price, they don’t let you, so you have to differentiate and that’s what we’re doing with initiatives like FuelSave. On price, you need to be as close as you can get.”
Clarke said when the transformation of Tesco is complete, the grocer will “once again be a leader”, adding “I intend to see my job through, lead my team, and make Tesco better for customers”.