Tesco: UK market 'most important'

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Tesco's annual profits have fallen for the first time in almost 20 years, as the UK's biggest supermarket confirmed it was pulling out of the US.

The company has also confirmed that it is winding up its US chain of 199 Fresh & Easy shops, which have never made a profit, at a cost of £1.2bn.

The company has also announced a one-off UK property write-down of £804m.

Statutory pre-tax profits were down 51% to £1.96bn, but post-tax profits including the cost of the US exit were just £120m, down 95.7%.

Speaking to the BBC, the chief executive of Tesco, Philip Clarke, said the company had faced tough challenges across the Atlantic.

"The opportunities for businesses like Tesco here at home, which is the most important market of all for us, and then in Europe and Asia, are just so much stronger", he added.

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