Tesco takes lead after Christmas sales rise in “competitive” market

Tesco Dave Lewis Christmas
The Big 4 leader saw sales rise 0.1% in the 6 weeks to January 4
// Tesco sales up 0.1%, marking a fifth consecutive Christmas sales growth
// The figures put Tesco at the lead so far after both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s posted declining Christmas sales

Tesco sales in the UK have edged up after a “challenging” festive trading period, marking its fifth Christmas sales growth in a row.

The Big 4 leader saw sales rise 0.1 per cent in the six weeks to January 4, and said it outperformed a “subdued” market.

However, in the 19 weeks covering both the third quarter and festive period, sales in the UK dropped 0.2 per cent.

READ MORE: Tesco unfolds fresh round of price cuts

Meanwhile, UK like-for-like sales fell 0.4 per cent over the 13 weeks to November 23.

“In a subdued UK market we performed well, delivering our fifth consecutive Christmas of growth,” Tesco’s outgoing chief executive Dave Lewis said.

“In our centenary year, our customer proposition was compelling, our product offering very competitive, and, thanks to the outstanding contribution of our colleagues, our operational performance was the best of the last six years.

“As a result, this Christmas we had the biggest-ever day of UK food sales in our history.”

The figures put Tesco at the lead so far in the UK grocery sector, after both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s recently posted declining sales over the Christmas season.

In the UK, Tesco saw food outshine a weaker performance from general merchandise, which saw sales fall 0.4 per cent over the 19-week period, though the group said this was down to an overhaul of its ranges.

Earlier this week, Tesco slashed prices on hundreds of products as part of its ongoing centenary celebrations, marking “100 Years of Great Value”.

It hopes to put pressure on rivals by launching the fresh round of price cuts.

Tesco said like-for-like sales across the entire group fell by 0.8 per cent as it suffered tougher trading across Central Europe and Asia – down by 9.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively over the six-week Christmas period.

Tesco recently said it was reviewing its operations in Thailand and Malaysia after receiving interest from potential buyers, but gave no further details on Thursday.

The trading update comes as Tesco’s banking arm suffered a hit from the cyber attack on foreign currency giant Travelex, with the group one of a raft of lenders left with no online travel money services.

Tesco said it was “regrettable” that it has had to suspend its online travel money and is in “close contact” with Travelex over the issue, but added that customers can still get foreign currency in 360 of its stores.

It declined to comment on Travelex’s handling of the crisis, which has drawn some criticism over the information provided to customers and partners in the days immediately after the attack on New Year’s Eve.

with PA Wires

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