Tesco spends £9m on private jets for bosses

Britain’s biggest supermarket has paid out £28m flying executives around the world in private jets since 2005

Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket, spent £9m last year flying its executives around the world in private jets.

In all, the company, which styles itself as a destination for cost-conscious consumers under the banner “Every little helps”, has raked up a £28m bill flying its executives in private planes to outposts around the world since 2005, according to filings at Companies House.

Analysis of the accounts for the year to 25 February for Kansas Transportation, a jet leasing business Tesco set up in 2005, shows the supermarket has spent £28.9m on private jets over the past seven years.

The bill has steadily increased over time with the highest bill coming in this year – the first under the management of Philip Clarke, who took over the reins from Sir Terry Leahy in 2011. Earlier this year, Leahy told the Times he preferred easyJet to private jets.

The bill for private jets has soared since 2009, when it came in at £2.3m. A year later annual jet spending had reached £5.4m, rising to £7.8m in the year to February 2011 and £8.9m in the most recent year.

The increasing cost of private jet hire is likely to heap further pressure on Clarke, who recently issued Tesco’s first profits warning in 20 years.

Tesco’s shares have lost about 16% of their value under Clarke’s reign. They closed at 339.8p last week, valuing the company at £27.3bn.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “We are a global business operating in 14 overseas markets since 2005. Between 2005 and 2012 our annual profits doubled from £1.8bn to £3.8bn. In common with many multinational companies, private aircraft are used to help our executives make the most efficient use of their time as they travel in and between our markets.”

She was unable to say if Clarke had ever travelled with Ryanair or easyJet. “I don’t know how he travels when it’s personal travel. For work, all our executives travel in the most efficient way,” she added.

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