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Shake-Up At Tesco As Price Isn't Right

(c) Sky News 2012

The overhaul of Tesco (Xetra: 852647 - news) 's top management is to continue with the departure of the executive in charge of its British non-food business after just 18 months in the job.

I have learned that Terry Price, commercial director and one of the company's top-ranking managers below board level, is leaving following the lacklustre trading performance of the division.

Mr Price, a former Wal-Mart executive, was in charge of 'hardlines', the retailing term which encompasses non-food products such as electrical items, toys and sports goods.

His exit comes as Tesco faces searching questions from the City about its plans to improve trading in its core UK business.

In January, it unveiled a shock profit warning and said it would need a huge investment programme to fend off competition from the likes of J Sainsbury and Asda.

In April, Tesco reported a 3.9% fall in full-year like-for-like general merchandise, electricals and clothing sales, a performance which left the City questioning the company's non-food credentials.

Philip Clarke, Tesco chief executive, is responding to the decline by combining responsibility for general merchandise under Neela Mukherjee, a Tesco Direct executive.

Mr Price's departure is a surprise because he was seen as an ally of Mr Clarke's when he was brought back from China to head general merchandise last year.

A Tesco insider conceded that the two men had disagreed about the reasons for the performance of non-food but said Mr Price was leaving on good terms.

Earlier this year, Richard Brasher, the group's UK boss, left after Mr Clarke said that there "could not be two captains on the bridge".

Tesco declined to comment.

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