Tesco books steep rise in sales over Christmas

Tesco books steep rise in sales over Christmas

Tesco rival Morrisons this week beat Christmas trading expectations, but Marks & Spencer saw clothing sales fall in the run up to the festive period.

The retailer also said food sales were down, by 0.4%, for the 13 weeks to 30 December - though both figures were slightly better than the City had expected.

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

Britain's biggest supermarket delivered a solid performance, with United Kingdom like-for-like seasonal sales up 1.9%, driven by a strong grocery performance.

"We have continued to outperform the market throughout this period, particularly in fresh food, thanks to our most competitive offer for many years", said chief executive Dave Lewis.

Global sales during the quarter declined 9.8 percent to 309 million pounds (416.6 million dollars), while M& sales of 309 million pounds improved 3 percent.

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

Lewis is scaling back in general merchandise areas such as entertainment, where customers are turning to digital alternatives, while focusing on categories like clothing.

Tesco did take a hit from lost tobacco sales after wholesaler Palmer & Harvey collapsed in November.

The clothing market was particularly weak in October and food sales have been continuously underperforming, he said.

The fourth biggest supermarket sold 2.8% more in the 10 weeks to January 7 than it did for the same period a year earlier, not including new store openings. Overall, like-for-like sales were up 2.3 per cent.

On Thursday, M&S said like-for-like sales of clothing and homeware fell by 2.8 percent in the quarter - ahead of analysts' average forecast of a 3.4 percent decline but worse than a second quarter fall of 0.1 percent.

According to its latest trading update, third quarter like-for-like sales in the United Kingdom grew by 2.3 per cent - representing Tesco's eighth consecutive quarter of growth - and total sales grew 2.5 per cent.

And despite the sales disappointment, M&S maintained its guidance for the full 2017-18 year.

Lidl claimed it was the "fastest growing supermarket" over Christmas after booking a 16% leap in festive sales in December, although it did not give a breakdown of like-for-like sales.

That may seem like volumes actually fell year-on-year, but Tesco said it worked hard with its suppliers which allowed it to pass on less inflation than its competitors.