// Tesco like-for-like sales up 7.2% over the 19 weeks to January 9, while total sales grew 7.6% to £14.69bn
// Performance was buoyed by like-for-like sales growth of 8.1% & total sales growth of 8.4% over Christmas period
// Tesco now expects the pandemic to cost it £810m this year, an £85m increase on previous forecasts
Tesco said a surge in Christmas food shopping has driven “strong” recent sales which are expected to help offset soaring coronavirus costs.
The supermarket giant is the latest grocer to report positive sales momentum over the festive trading period amid heightened Covid-19 restrictions.
However, it now expects the pandemic to cost it £810 million this year, with the increased severity of the virus in recent months causing it to increase its previous prediction by £85 million.
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The Big 4 retailer said like-for-like sales in its core UK market increased by 7.2 per cent over the 19 weeks to January 9, while total sales grew 7.6 per cent year-on-year to £14.69 billion.
Tesco said its UK market was particularly buoyed by like-for-like sales growth of 8.1 per cent and total sales growth of 8.4 per cent during the final six weeks of the period, which covered the peak Christmas trading season.
Across the whole business and factoring in all its markets, Tesco said total sales grew seven per cent during the 19-week period to £19.9 billion, with like-for-like sales up 5.6 per cent.
Tesco said online sales grew by more than 80 per cent over the 19 weeks, as staff delivered more than seven million Christmas orders.
It told investors this morning that its large stores have seen sales grow strongly as customers favour bigger but less frequent shopping trips.
In the update to the stock market, Tesco also said its “comprehensive preparations and our strong relationships with suppliers” have allowed it to maintain strong levels of availability during the Brexit transition period.
“Our focus on looking after our customers, including delivering record availability, robust safety measures and great value, has enabled us to maintain strong momentum through the Christmas period, outperforming the market every week,” chief executive Ken Murphy said.
“We delivered a record Christmas across all of our formats and channels.
“Our colleagues went above and beyond, rising to every challenge in the most exceptional of circumstances and I thank every one of them for this.
“We’re in great shape to keep delivering in 2021 and beyond.”
with PA Wires