In a week of Christmas trading surprises, Tesco's like-for-like sales over the six week festive period improved 1.3% off the back of higher customer numbers and clothing sales. Notably, prices for essential Christmas items were approximately 5% lower than they were in the previous year and Tesco boss Dave Lewis said there had been more staff in stores.
Clothing sales at Britain's biggest supermarket chain rose saliently ahead of the market, especially in the ladies fashion category. The online arm of the business also performed well, with a record number of orders being delivered on 22 December.
"Our Christmas performance was strong, benefiting from lower prices on an outstanding range of products,” said Lewis.
"Our customer service improved materially and our colleagues went the extra mile. Put simply, we put customers at the heart of everything we did and they responded by buying more of what they needed at Tesco.
International sales have also continued to strengthen, driven once again by improvements across the offer. We continued our strong positive sales momentum in both Europe and Asia, with our Thai business reaching its highest ever market share."
Despite the merry Christmas momentum, overall sales for the third quarter slid 0.5%, which Tesco blamed on its decision not to repeat the 2014 “£5 off £40” promotion, held in 2014.
"Our Christmas performance was strong... There is plenty more to do, but we are making progress and are trading in line with profit expectations for the full year,” added Lewis.
Lewis, nicknamed ‘Drastic Dave’, said in October 2015 that he was quietly confident about the turnaround of Tesco.