Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Fresh food drives record Christmas at Tesco

Fresh food drives record Christmas at Tesco

Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) complained of a similar drag in its general merchandise business, although it still managed to generate like-for-like sales growth of 2.0% during a "record" four weeks before Christmas day.

Marks and Spencer Group Plc (M&S) for the 13 weeks to December 30, 2017 reported 0.1 percent decline in group revenue to 3,167 million pounds (4,272 million dollars).

In the United Kingdom like-for-like sales growth of 1.9pc, driven by a 3.4pc like-for-like increase in sales of food, was offset by ongoing drag from general merchandise and lost tobacco sales due to the Palmer & Harvey integration.

It is also good news for the retailer after facing controversy over its £3.7 billion acquisition of wholesaler and convenience store operator Booker - which was given the final approval from the Competitions and Market Authority just before Christmas.

Supermarkets Morrisons and Sainsbury's also suffered in the wake of the slump, drifting down 3.3p to 226.2p and 5.3p to 248.6p respectively.

"We delivered an excellent operational performance across the group, with great availability, strong customer satisfaction scores and our lowest level of waste ever at Christmas", said Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury's.

Total sales in United Kingdom however improved 1.1 percent to 2,858 million pounds (3,855 million dollars), while like-for-like sales decreased 1.4 percent in the quarter.

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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.

"Our fresh food ranges performed particularly well, as did F&F Clothing, which saw double-digit growth", said Andrew Yaxley, chief executive of Tesco Ireland.

This helped it notch up a 2.3% rise in third quarter comparable sales.

Like-for-like sales at Marks & Spencer (M&S) were underwhelming, dropping by 0.4%.

M&S said that "ongoing trading pressures" in the group's food business continued in the lead up to Christmas, as a result of customers' tighter budgets.

By contrast, British online fashion retailer raised its full-year sales forecast after more than doubling its revenue over the same period to the end of December, with strong Black Friday sales.

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