Sales in Irish Tesco stores fell by 6.1% in first quarter

Company says fall due to ‘exceptionally strong’ period in 2020 as lockdown imposed

Tesco’s Irish sales lagged the overall group’s year-on-year performance. Photograph: Tom Honan

Tesco’s Irish sales lagged the overall group’s year-on-year performance. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Sales in Tesco’s Irish stores were down by 6.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year. The retailer said the dip reflected an “exceptionally strong performance” last year, and pointed out that sales were up by 13 per cent when compared with per-pandemic 2019.

In a note to investors on Friday, the company said it achieved sales of £641 million (€748 million) in its Irish stories during the period.

“Last year’s growth reflected earlier lockdown and higher conversion of out of home consumption,” it said. The Government introduced the first tranche of public health restrictions in March 2020.

Tesco’s Irish sales lagged the overall group’s year-on-year performance with group-wide sales of €13.4 billion representing growth of 1 per cent compared with 2020 and 8.1 per cent compared with 2019.

Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said the company delivered “a strong performance” in the first quarter, even as it “lapped the high demand of last year due to the pandemic”.

Clubcard prices

“We have further strengthened our commitment to delivering consistent, reliable value and to rewarding loyalty, as we extended Clubcard prices to all Express stores,” he said.

“Our colleagues continue to do a great job serving our customers, and I thank them for everything they’re doing.

“We remain focused on delivering great value, increasing loyalty and further developing our digital platform so we can serve our customers when, how and where they want.

“Our profit guidance from April remains unchanged. While the market outlook remains uncertain, I’m pleased with the strong start we’ve made to the year and continue to be excited about the many opportunities we have to create value over the longer term.”

In its UK stores, sales growth has slowed sharply since the easing of the latest coronavirus lockdown as people start to visit pubs and restaurants again, Britain’s biggest retailer said on Friday.

However, Tesco enjoyed sales growth of 0.5 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2020 and growth of 9.3 per cent compared with 2019.

It said this included retained benefit of customers consuming more meals at home when compared with pre-Covid times. This peaked in March when there was growth of 14.6 per cent and moderated in April and May as restrictions eased.

Online demand remained high at 1.3 million orders per week with two-year sales growth of 81.6 per cent. One-year sales growth of 22.2 per cent reflected annualisation of a surge in capacity in April last year.