Coronavirus: Tesco to take hit of up to £925m due to COVID-19

Tesco has warned that it could take a hit of up to £925m due to the coronavirus, according to its latest set of results.

The supermarket chain estimated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would be between £650m and £925m, including significant cost increases in payroll, distribution and store expenses.

In its results statement, Tesco said the full financial impact for the crisis in 2020/21 was “impossible to predict with a high degree of certainty” and that it “would not be prudent to provide financial guidance”.

Supermarkets have been among the few businesses allowed to remain open during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

In the days leading up to the restrictions, many outlets saw panic buying as people stocked up on items such as hand sanitiser, pasta and toilet paper.

Industry data last week said UK grocery sales leapt by more than a fifth to a record £10.8bn in the four weeks to 22 March, which included that period.

Tesco said “significant panic buying” had cleared its supply chain of certain items and caused sales to jump by around 30%.

The situation has since stabilised and the company said “more normal sales volumes are being experienced”.

But the supermarket’s wholesale business is likely to have been hit by the closure of bars and restaurants under the virus lockdown. Also, social distancing measures have restricted the number of shoppers allowed in store at any one time.

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