Tesco is festive winner reporting record Christmas sales
12 January, 2018, 00:37
Marks & Spencer shares fell sharply after the retailer blamed a warm October for faltering clothing sales and suffered its fourth consecutive slide in food sales as shoppers hunted for cheaper options.
Reporting a continued deterioration of conditions, the company noted both falling food and clothing sales over the crucial Christmas weeks, extending a trend that has been dogging the company for many quarters, despite both segments weakened by less than expected.
"Our trading momentum accelerated across the third quarter and into December, with the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivering record sales and volumes in the United Kingdom", chief executiuve Dave Lewis said.
Looking forwards Tesco said it was confident in the outlook for the full year and that it was "firmly on track" to deliver its medium-term ambitions.
In the third quarter of the group's financial year - the period that spans the 13 weeks to 25 November - Tesco recorded like-for-like sales growth of 2.3 per cent for that region.
Food sales grew by 3.4 percent, and fresh food specifically by 3.7 percent in the six weeks before Christmas, Lewis said, but weaker sales in general merchandise were a 0.6 percent drag and the disruption in tobacco supplies took a 0.5 percent toll.
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However, the company said it was working with suppliers to mitigate inflation and Lewis said consumers were still "cautious" about how they were spending their money.
Britons, whose spending power has been squeezed by inflation, prioritised food this Christmas and cut back on almost everything else, industry data has shown.
Tesco is experiencing strong momentum relative to its peers and in October Mr Lewis hailed a "significant milestone" after unveiling the first dividend payout for three years.
Tesco has tightened its hold on the nation's food market after the competition regulator last month cleared its 3.7 billion pound ($4.95 billion) takeover of wholesaler Booker.
Tesco's update is the latest from the so called Big Four supermarkets, which also includes Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons.
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