Supermarket Tesco enjoys Christmas sales leap

Sales were up at the supermarket chain over Christmas but the markets had expected stronger growth

"Our trading momentum accelerated across the third quarter and into December, with the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivering record sales and volumes in the UK", Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, said.

Tesco said its biggest ever sales week in the United Kingdom was over Christmas, with 58 million customer transactions and 770,000 online grocery deliveries in one week.

Tesco, which has been transformed by CEO Lewis following a 2014 accounting scandal, reported a 1.9% rise in like-for-like sales in its United Kingdom home market in the six weeks to January 6, below a forecast of 2.4-3.2%.

"Our trading momentum accelerated across the third quarter and into December, with the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivering record sales and volumes in the United Kingdom", he added.

Food and clothing sales at Marks & Spencer fell in the final three months of 2017, the firm announced this morning.

Today, Tesco released its holiday sales and it showed a 1.9% increase, a huge miss compared to the 2.8% estimate.


Elsewhere, House of Fraser said store sales in the six weeks to 23 December were down 2.9% and post-Christmas performance was "disappointing".

However, he added that the collapse of the Palmer & Harvey tobacco supplier had taken "the shine off an otherwise outstanding performance for the period as a whole".

While inflationary pressures remained a problem for many United Kingdom food firms, Tesco said it had continued to work with its supplier partners to help mitigate the impact on its customers.

"Despite many predictions that Tesco had "won" Christmas, with that accolade instead being shared by Morrisons and the Co-op, the market leader nonetheless enjoyed a very creditable festive period", he pointed out, as quoted by the newswire. Tesco had a good Christmas in its core United Kingdom business but disruption from the collapse of Palmer & Harvey was a drag and trading fell short of City expectations.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black says tobacco sales took 0.5% off United Kingdom and Ireland like-for-like sales over six weeks.

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