Tesco has best Christmas in three years

Tesco has reported its best Christmas performance in three years after aggressive discounting and loyalty drives encouraged shoppers into stores.

Tesco

Total UK sales were up 8.3% in the six weeks to 9 January while like-for-like sales increasing 5.1%.

As customers looked to treat themselves over the Christmas and New Year period, sales of champagne increased 35% over last year and its Finest range saw “strong performance” as did its online operations.

Non-food sales were driven by clothing, electricals and toys.

The supermarket chain says its overseas business “saw continued growth” over the festive period and its US Fresh & Easy chain saw 35% growth and “positive” like-for-like sales growth.

Tesco’s share price rose 2.18% on the back of its trading update this morning.

Meanwhile, the latest sales figures from the British Retail Consortium show sales in December were up 4.2% on the same month in the previous year, when sales were hit by plummeting consumer confidence as the financial crisis set in.

The figures were stronger than expected despite snow keeping consumers out of stores in some areas. Sales growth comparison was also helped by the change in VAT cut as December is the first and only month where the 15% rate is the same as the previous year.

Food sales hit their strongest point since June, boosted by Christmas and higher food price inflation.

Non-store sales, which include internet, mail order and phone sales, were 26.5% up in December against last year and up 16.9% on the previous month.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, says: “These are stronger figures than we dared hope for. After a surprisingly muted November, this is the best total sales growth for a December since 2005 and goes well beyond just making up for the sales fall the sector suffered a year ago. December may be only a temporary respite on the painful road to recovery.”

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