Tesco raises pressure on rivals with price cuts

Tesco shop

Tesco said first-quarter sales rose 1.8% on a same-store basis, as demand continued to recover following severe storms in March.

Lewis said: "Getting Tesco lines into Booker was always going to be later than getting Booker into Tesco".

"Our growth plans are on track and we are pleased with the momentum in the business", said Lewis.

The lower prices will be welcomed by British consumers where a string of retailers have struggled in a tough market.

The UK supermarket sector has been upended in recent years by the rapid growth of discount groups Aldi and Lidl and the growing popularity of online sales, forcing traditional groups Tesco, Sainsbury's, Walmart's Asda and Morrisons to work harder.

Tesco also said its Chef Central tie up, where Booker catering supplies are sold in Tesco superstores, is performing well in serving both the public and catering businesses.

However, Sainsbury's' proposed 7.3 billion pounds takeover of Walmart's Asda would push Tesco down into second place, posing a serious threat to the group.

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The supermarket said United Kingdom and Irish sales rose 3.5% in the most recent three months, its 10th consecutive quarter of growth.

"The number of retail business failures there have been this year is unprecedented", Lewis said.

'The latest market data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that Tesco remains streets ahead of its competitors with a 27.7% grocery market share in Great Britain. Lewis said Tesco planned to submit its thoughts on the deal to United Kingdom regulators.

Tesco had been forced to rebuild after a 2014 accounting scandal capped a downturn in trading.

As a group, it posted underlying growth of 1.8 percent, its strongest performance since 2011.

Tesco's United Kingdom supermarket sales rose 2.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis, while Booker's sales, including tobacco, jumped 14.3 per cent over the period.

Lewis had warned in a speech to business leaders three years ago that the government's approach on business rates, the minimum wage and apprenticeship levy was a potential "lethal cocktail" for the industry.

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