// Tesco Q1 sales in the UK up 0.5% to £10bn compared to same period last year – the height of lockdown #1
// Compared to the same quarter in pre-pandemic 2019, sales was up 9.3%
// Online sales now up 81.6% on pre-pandemic levels and up 22.2% on the same period last year
Tesco has managed to post growing sales its first quarter compared with a year earlier, despite that same period in 2020 being during the height of the first lockdown when supermarket shelves were stripped bare.
In the 13 week period ending May 29, the Big 4 grocer saw across its UK supermarkets grow by 0.5 per cent year-on-year to £10 billion.
When compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, sales were up 9.3 per cent.
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Tesco’s wholesale Booker business saw the strongest growth, with sales up 9.2 per cent to £1.77 billion as the leisure sector started reopening during the period with lockdown restrictions easing in April and May.
Booker’s catering like-for-like sales jumped 68.1 per cent, although it was offset by a 4.3 per cent fall in its sales to other retailers – typically independent convenience stores.
In the Republic of Ireland, sales slumped 6.1 per cent to £641 million as the grocer failed to match the strong sales from a year earlier.
The retailer’s central Europe division also failed to keep up with the pace of growth, dropping 1.6 per cent to £940 million, although both it and Tesco’s Irish divisions remain ahead on a two-year basis – up 13 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.
The Big 4 giant’s total first quarter sales – encompassing all of its markets – were up one per cent to £13.4 billion.
The shift to more households using online grocery services also looks set to become permanent, with 1.3 million orders a week being placed during the quarter.
Tesco said online sales were now up 81.6 per cent on pre-pandemic levels and up 22.2 per cent on the same period last year.
Non-food and clothes sales helped drive some of the growth in the period, with Tesco remaining open throughout the recent lockdowns while non-essential retailers had to close their physical shops until April.
Tesco said general merchandise, which includes all non-food products, was up 10.3 per cent and clothing up 52.1 per cent in the quarterly period compared to a year ago.
Bosses said they were keen to continue pushing cheaper prices and have maintained their Aldi price match scheme on more than 500 lines.
Heavy focus was also placed on its Clubcard loyalty scheme, making it available at all 1844 Express stores.
“We delivered a strong performance in the first quarter, even as we lapped the high demand of last year due to the pandemic,” Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said.
“While the market outlook remains uncertain, I’m pleased with the strong start we’ve made to the year.”
with PA Wires