Markets

Tesco thanks fresh food for Christmas sales rise

Tesco thanks fresh food for Christmas sales rise

Just today, fashion retailers announce sales revenues 10-25% higher over the Christmas period, as companies both young (Boohoo) and old (Ted Baker) see bumper demand, further projecting the image of the cash conscious United Kingdom consumer wanting bang for their buck, especially at yuletide.

The retailer hailed a "strong" third-quarter performance in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, with United Kingdom like-for-like sales up 2.3% in the period and 1.9% over the Christmas trading season.

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

Mr Lewis said that, particularly in fresh food, Tesco had managed to outperform the market throughout the Christmas period.

The group, which reset its strategy in November two months after Archie Norman joined as chairman, said clothing and homeware like-for-like sales fell 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30th, its fiscal third quarter.

Despite the upbeat update, Tesco's results have failed to spark enthusiasm among investors, which have sold off the supermarket's shares this morning. Notably its main rivals Morrisons (MRW) and Sainsbury's (SBRY) both reported better-than-expected numbers this week on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Clothing and home sales were down on both metrics: 2.3% lower on a total sales basis to £1.192bn - down 2.8% like-for-like.

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This included a 3.7% rise in LFL sales of fresh food.

Its like-for-like sales growth was 1.9 percent and food rose by 3.4 percent.

Shares in M&S, which rallied in the week before its Christmas update, fell as much as 6% on Thursday after it said sales of clothing, domestic products and food had all fallen, albeit not by as much as most analysts had forecast.

The supermarket group revealed that sales over the festive period grew 4% when compared to the same period in 2016.

The declines reported were still not as steep as some feared after profit warnings from the likes of Debenhams, Moss Bros and Mothercare.

Supermarkets are battling rising costs linked to the Brexit-hit pound, falling consumer confidence and fierce competition in the sector as Lidl and Aldi continue their relentless march.

However in Asia, sales were down nearly 10pc in the three month period, which the company said reflected the ongoing impact of ceasing unprofitable bulk selling activities in Thailand.

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