Tesco has revealed that its profits tumbled by around a fifth over the past year after coronavirus costs of almost £900 million offset surging sales.

The supermarket giant said on Wednesday morning that pre-tax profits slid to £825 million for the 12 months to February, compared with £1.03 billion the previous year.

Tesco’s profits tumbled by around a fifth over the past year after coronavirus costs of almost £900m offset surging sales (Victoria Jones/PA)

It said profits were weighed down by £892 million in Covid-related costs and the company’s decision to hand £585 million in business rates relief back to the Government.

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It had benefited from a jump in demand for groceries during the pandemic, with more meals eaten at home amid restrictions on the hospitality sector and changes to working habits.

Group sales excluding fuel increased by 7% to £53.4 billion for the year, buoyed by soaring online sales.

Online sales jumped by 77% to £6.3 billion in the UK as the company doubled delivery capacity to meet rising demand from housebound customers.

Chief executive Ken Murphy said: “Tesco has shown incredible strength and agility throughout the pandemic.

“By putting our customers and colleagues first, we have built a stronger business.

“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.”