Tesco “hindered” by snow as festive sales falter

Tesco fell short of its supermarket rivals over Christmas, posting a smaller than expected rise in sales over the festive period.

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The supermarket chain says that sales at UK stores open for more than one year increased by just 0.6% in the six weeks to 8 January despite a Christmas campaign starring Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden and a major push for its Clubcard loyalty programme.

Chief executive Sir Terry Leahy says performance was “hindered” by the “disruptive effects of the severe winter weather conditions” over Christmas.

The performance compares with the 4.9% like for like bump reported for Christmas 2009 and the 1.5% reported for the third quarter of 2010.

It also falls short of rivals Sainsbury’s, which reported a 5.3% increase for the last quarter, and Morrisons with 1%.

Sales from the supermarket’s online retailer, Tesco Direct increased by 18% over the period.

International sales from its 5,000 stores worldwide rose 14.2% over the period.

Sir Terry is leaving the supermarket in March when commercial director Richard Brasher will takeover as UK CEO.

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