Today has brought a raft of financial results and Tesco’s prelims, inevitably, grabbed most of the attention.

Despite the fact that the grocery giant’s statutory pre-tax profits were undermined by exceptional charges relating to a settlement with the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority following the accounting scandal, the underlying retail story was good.

Sales, volumes and profits were up, reflecting improvements from better availability and lower prices through to a sharpened, smaller range.

Tesco boss Dave Lewis still faces a challenge convincing some reluctant investors of the merits of his planned deal with wholesaler Booker, but he can now make the case backed up by powerful evidence that the core Tesco UK business is very much on the right track again.

At WHSmith, interim results once again showed that despite the carping of critics about the supposed state of the retailer’s carpets, the business delivers.

A variety of new high street formats are now being tried out by WHS, which is sometimes given less credit than it deserves for its retailing skills.

Did you know that confectionery, food and drink now account for half of WHSmith’s sales at UK travel branches?

Quote of the day

“The results today should give everybody confidence that as a management team we are completely, completely focused on the continued turnaround of the business.”

– Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis

Today in numbers


Like-for-like sales decline at Dunelm during its third quarter.


Year on year reduction in multibuy promotions at Tesco.

Tomorrow’s agenda

There are no formal updates tomorrow, the last day before the Easter bank holiday, when retailers will hope for a seasonal sales uplift.

George MacDonald, executive editor