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Tesco's first-half profit falls as Murphy era begins

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer by sales, on Wednesday reported a 15.6% fall in core profit, with a jump in sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic more than outweighed by higher costs and losses at Tesco Bank.

The group, led since the start of the month by new chief executive Ken Murphy, made operating profit before one-off items of 1.037 billion pounds ($1.34 billion) in the 26 weeks to August 29, down from 1.229 billion pounds in the same period last year.

However, the group forecast that retail operating profit in the full 2020-21 would be at least the same level as 2019-20 on a continuing operations basis. ($1 = 0.7756 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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