Tesco has suspended four executives, including UK managing director Chris Bush, after admitting overstating its six month profit guidance by an estimated £250m.

The multiple has called in accountants Deloitte to investigate the issue, which relates to the guidance issued on 29 August 2014 for the group profits for the six months to 23 August.

CEO Dave Lewis, who commenced his role at the beginning of September, said: “We have uncovered a serious issue and I have acted quickly to establish a comprehensive independent investigation.

“The board, my colleagues, our customers and I expect Tesco to operate with integrity and transparency and we will take decisive action as the results of the investigation become clear.”

Tesco recorded a 4% year-on-year drop in sales in the 12 weeks to 18 August, while its market share has continued to decline since peaking at 31% in 2011.