Retail round-up: Tesco launches free fruit initiative for the under-16s, UK consumer confidence plummets after Brexit vote, and Amazon’s earnings

Tesco to give free fruit to under-16s

Tesco has revealed that it will offer free fruit such as apples, soft citrus and bananas to children under 16 years of age, Reuters reported.

The programme, set to launch in more than 800 stores, is the latest salvo in the supermarket war and is aimed at improving Tesco's brand image.

Kids can pick one free piece from a stand at the front of the store.

“We’re Britain's biggest greengrocer, so we want to make it easier for parents to get their children eating more healthily," said Matt Davies, Tesco CEO for the UK and Ireland.

The grocer did not reveal the anticipated cost of the initiative.

Consumer confidence records biggest fall since 1990

British consumer confidence slumped to -12 this month from -1 in June after the EU referendum vote, recording its biggest decline since March 1990.

"We've seen a very significant drop in confidence, as is clear from the fall in each of our key measures," Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said.

"Its future trajectory depends on whether we enter a new period of damaging economic uncertainty or restore confidence by embracing a positive stance on negotiating a new deal for the UK."

Meanwhile, consumer confidence in Scotland has also plummeted. It tumbled by 14 points to -22 in the first two weeks of July, GfK said.

Staton said calls for a second Scottish independence referendum was exacerbating the economic uncertainty north of the border.

Amazon earns $857m in second quarter reported earnings of $857m in its second quarter, or $1.78 per share against the analysts’ average estimate of $1.11.

The US-based company's net sales in North America, its biggest market, jumped 28.1% to $17.67bn.

Revenue from Amazon Web Services rose 58.2% to $2.89bn.

The etailer forecasts relatively low operating income for the current quarter. Lower third-quarter income is routine for Amazon as it ramps up for the end-of-year holiday shopping season, chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said.

“We’re adding warehouses. We’re adding workers,” he said, citing 18 new fulfilment centres for the third quarter, compared with six centres in the same period of 2015.