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Tesco to pay first dividend since 2014-15 crisis

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Britain's biggest retailer Tesco said on Wednesday it would pay a dividend for the first time since the 2014-15 year when it was mired in crisis, signaling it has reached the next stage of its recovery.

The firm reported a 27.3 percent rise in first-half profit and a seventh straight quarter of underlying sales growth in its home market, successfully navigating an inflationary trading environment.

Tesco made operating profit before one off items of 759 million pounds ($1.01 billion) for the six months to Aug. 26.

That compares with 596 million pounds in the same period last year and analyst forecasts of about 700 million pounds.

Tesco, which in January agreed to buy wholesaler Booker for 3.7 billion pounds, said UK like-for-like sales rose 2.1 percent in the second quarter.

An interim dividend of 1 pence will be paid which "reflects improved performance and board confidence." ($1 = 0.7532 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)