Tesco has announced a group operating profit of £1,815m, up 28.1%, for the year 2020/21 in its preliminary results.

Group sales, excluding fuel, were £53.4bn, up 7.1%.

UK online sales were £6.3bn, up 77%, with capacity doubled to 1.5m slots a week.

A company statement said the sales were “exceptionally strong”, with Tesco growing UK market share during the year.

The statement said the retailer has played a significant role supporting customers, colleagues, suppliers and communities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tesco is well set for the current year, with strong improvement in profitability expected while trading conditions are likely to remain volatile, the statement continued.

Ken Murphy, Chief Executive, commented: “Tesco has shown incredible strength and agility throughout the pandemic.  By putting our customers and colleagues first we have built a stronger business.  I’d like to say a huge thank you to the entire team for rising so selflessly to every challenge they’ve faced. Their efforts have been truly heroic.

“While the pandemic is not yet over, we’re well-placed to build on the momentum in our business.  We have strengthened our brand, increased customer satisfaction and improved value perception.  We have doubled the size of our online business and through Clubcard, we’re building a digital customer platform.  Sustainability is now an integral part of our business strategy and we’re doubling down on our efforts to reach net zero.

“Our decision to protect and hold the dividend flat for this financial year demonstrates our commitment to shareholders.  We believe we can create significant further value for them and every stakeholder in our business by continuing to focus on value, loyalty and convenience for customers, underpinned by strong capital discipline.”

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