Tesco upbeat despite sales slowdown

Tesco has blamed its slowest Christmas sales growth since the Nineties on its “exposure” to non-food sales. The supermarket chain claims a 2.5% rise in like-for-like sales for the seven weeks to January 10 is “strong” despite the slowdown.

The retail says that the rise, which excludes petrol sales, was achieved despite a “background of challenging trading conditions.”

It adds that sales growth, which increases slightly to 3.5% when adjusted for the December VAT cut, was lower than Sainsbury’s 4.5% for the 13 weeks to January 3 because of its larger non-food ranges.

Its non-food sales performance “strengthened a little” compared to its third quarter and like-for-like sales were “positive”, according to the supermarket’s Christmas and New Year trading statement published this morning (January 13). Group sales rose by 11.6%, helped by its “continued rapid international expansion.

It says that Tesco Direct, its online operation, did well in line with other retailers, reporting a total sales increase of 18% to £273m for the seven weeks, and Tesco Personal Finance, which the retailer now fully owns after buying out the Royal bank of Scotland in December, is growing strongly with 1000 new accounts being opened per day “recently”.

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