T esco boss Dave Lewis has reasserted his "confidence" in the retailer's turnaround plan by unveiling the first shareholder payout since the supermarket cut its dividend three years ago in the wake of its accounting scandal. Britain’s biggest retailer said it would pay a 1p dividend alongside announcing a 71.8pc jump in half year profits to £885m. Mr Lewis denied that the ongoing fraud trial of a trio of former Tesco directors had cast a shadow over his attempt to draw a line under the saga. "Today’s announcement that we are resuming the dividend reflects our confidence that we can build on our strong performance to date and in doing so, create long-term sustainable value for all our stakeholders," said Mr Lewis. Laith Khalaf, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that the 1p dividend was "only a small amount, but this payment is symbolic in nature." Tesco sales were 3.7pc higher to £28.3bn in the six months to August 26, its seventh consecutive quarter of growth. UK and Ireland hit £19bn while like-for-like sales rose by 2.2pc as Tesco has focused on being more competitive by improving its fresh food offer and heavily investing in its own bakery and "farm" brands.
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