Business and Industry

British Retailer Tesco Abandoning US Efforts

Profit fell for first time in two decades


Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco, wrote down the value of its global operations by $3.5 billion (2.3 billion pounds) and announced plans to exit the United States, as it tries to rebuild after a year when profit fell for the first time in two decades.

The group—the world's third biggest retailer after Wal-Mart and Carrefour and one of Britain's most consistent performers until a profit warning in January 2012—said on Wednesday that abandoning its loss-making U.S. venture Fresh & Easy would mean restructuring and other one-off costs of 1 billion pounds.

Tesco also wrote down the value of its UK property by 804 million pounds, reflecting a decision not to develop over 100 sites as more shoppers move to the Internet, and took a 495 million pound goodwill charge on its businesses in Poland, the Czech Republic and Turkey to account for a slowdown in demand.

(Hat tip to Adam Simpson)