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Tesco shutters 43 stores and moves headquarters

British retailer hopes steps will help cut costs and improve operations

The troubled Tesco supermarket chain is shuttering 43 stores and moving its headquarters – a series of steps meant to cut costs and improve operations in the wake of an accounting scandal and increased competition.

Tesco, one of the world's biggest retailers, has issued several profit warnings as it struggles to compete in Britain with low-cost rivals such as Aldi and Lidl. Meanwhile, investigations are underway and executives have been suspended over a scandal in which company profits were overstated.

Amid the worries, the retailer revealed Thursday sales declines eased over the key Christmas period, encouraging investors who sent shares up 10 per cent to 199.85 pence.

Thursday's report shows like-for-like sales fell 2.9 per cent in the 19 weeks to Jan. 3 versus a 5.4 per cent drop in the second quarter.

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