Tesco posts record profits

The group is now making total sales of more than £1bn a week.

Pretty impressive, given that the UK is facing its worst financial crisis for more than a century, surpassing even the Great Depression of the thirties.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy says he’s confident the retailer will "continue to make good progress even in the current global economic environment" but says it’s “too early to forecast when an upturn will come."

“Can we maintain growth? I hope so. We’ve had to conduct business in a growing and serious recession,” he said on the BBC’s Today programme, adding that the company is creating 11,000 new retail jobs in Britain, plus another 7,500 in the construction sector.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Tesco reported a trading loss of £142m from its US Fresh & Easy business. Tesco started targeting small start-up stores in America in 2007 – but has struggled to lure US shoppers away from cheap rivals such as Wal-Mart.

“For every successful thing we’ve done at Tesco, we’ve made a lot of misjudgments,” commented Sir Terry. “But any business has to adjust when it sees huge swings in the spending power of customers.”

With the Retail Prices Index (RPI) showing that UK annual inflation has turned negative for the first time since 1960, will Tesco be able to continue its assault on the UK high street? Let’s hear your views.

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