Tesco thanks fresh food for Christmas sales rise

Overall sales were down 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30 better than the City had feared but appreciably worse than competitors such as Tesco and Sainsbury

Similarly, Marks and Spencer Group lost 4.5 percent after reporting a 2.8 percent fall in like-for-like sales for its struggling clothing and home divisions over the Christmas quarter.

Supermarket giant Tesco has emerged as a festive victor of the Big Four, reporting a steep rise in sales over the Christmas trading period.

Tesco and Sainsbury's have announced "best ever" Christmas trading periods, as Asda and M&S lose ground.

"We had a mixed quarter that started off with a challenging October but got better on both sides of the business in the run-up to Christmas", M&S Chief Executive Steve Rowe said, adding that it "had a lot to do" to get its food business on track.

Though the group was up against a much tougher comparison from a year earlier, when clothing sales rose by an impressive 2.3%.

Its like-for-like sales growth was 1.9 percent and food rose by 3.4 percent.

Clothing and homeware fell 2.8 percent, food also dropped by 0.4 percent despite being seen as the most successful sector.




British builder Barratt fell 2.7 percent, after it posted a flat sales rate in the last six months of 2017 while Taylor Wimpey edged down 1.8 percent, continuing a slide from the previous session, when it said full-year results for 2017 would be in line with expectations.

"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.

"However, the impact of an unseasonal October resulted in an overall revenue decline". Next said full-price sales in the 54 days to December 24 increased 1.5%, with online sales jumping 13.6%, helping mitigate a 6.1% decline across its stores.

"Trading pressure continued into the lead up to Christmas". For Tesco, shares of which were also dented by weak merchandise sales, there's no question it remains in good enough shape to absorb such disappointments.

Department store chain Debenhams was among the first to emerge as a festive casualty after warning over profits after it was forced to slash prices to boost flagging festive sales.

Its Central Europe business saw a 0.8% like-for-like sales increase, however Asia, a market in which Tesco has instigated the ceasing of bulk selling in Thailand over the past year, fell 9.6%.

"Our fresh food ranges performed particularly well, as did F&F Clothing, which saw double-digit growth", said Andrew Yaxley, chief executive of Tesco Ireland.

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