Tesco like-for-like sales rise 1.8% over Christmas
Tesco has reported a 1.8% rise in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 5 January as trade was boosted by strong online sales and improvements in its food business. The increase was the supermarket's strongest rate of like-for-like growth in three years.
Group sales increased by 3.9% while UK total sales rose by 4.3%.
In a trading statement chief executive Philip Clarke said: "The Group performed broadly in-line with our expectations through the Christmas period, with an improved performance in the UK and maintained trends elsewhere as we continue to experience tough trading conditions - particularly in Central Europe.
"I am pleased with our performance over the important Christmas and New Year period in the UK, which reflects the progress we are making in improving our offer for customers.”
Tesco said its performance was driven by a further improvement in its food business in-store and a strong contribution from online, which included the supermarket’s biggest ever week for internet sales.
The supermarket is now nine months into the implementation of its six point plan to revamp its UK stores. However, Clarke warned that there was still much to do, adding: "Whilst our seasonal performance is encouraging, there is a lot more to do and the team is focused on delivering further improvements for customers in 2013."
Tesco said its general merchandise business performed better than in the third quarter, both in-store and online, but was still a drag on the overall rate of growth. Clothing enjoyed a stronger period on top of positive performances in the last two quarters.
Online performance was strong over the period, with online food sales up 18%. The supermarket fulfilled over half a million food orders in the week before Christmas, with nearly 5% of orders being picked up by customers using the drive-through Click & Collect service. Tesco Direct sales were up by more than 16%.
Tesco’s international businesses performed at a similar level to Q3. Asia saw a 7.6% increase in total sales reflecting a strong performance in Thailand. In Europe total sales declined by 0.4% excluding petrol, while in the United States, total sales for Fresh & Easy were up 4.1%.
Following a nine month period when Philip Clarke temporarily led both the group and the UK business, Tesco has announced the appointment of Chris Bush as UK managing director. Bush, who has over 30 years of experience at Tesco, will take responsibility for the UK business, supported by the UK leadership team.
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