April 12, 2017 / 6:14 AM / 4 months ago

Tesco recovery gains momentum with profit jump

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, beat forecasts for full-year profit, showing its recovery is picking up pace and potentially giving a boost to its stuttering campaign to win investor backing for a takeover of wholesaler Booker.

The supermarket group said on Wednesday it made an operating profit before exceptional items of 1.28 billion pounds ($1.60 billion) in the year to Feb. 25 2017.

That was ahead of analysts' average forecast of 1.26 billion pounds, according to Reuters data, and an increase of 30 percent on the 944 million pounds made in 2015-16.

Tesco said UK sales at stores open over a year rose 0.7 percent in the 13 weeks to Feb. 25, its fiscal fourth quarter - a fifth straight quarter of underlying growth.

"We are confident that we can build on this strong performance in the year ahead," said Chief Executive Dave Lewis. (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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