Tesco hails 0.7% rise in sales over Christmas period

British retailer has been locked in battle with rising German discounters Aldi and Lidl

Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, reported a 0.7 per cent rise in underlying Christmas sales in its home market, capping a year of recovery with a solid performance over the key festive period.

Tesco, which, like Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons, has battled the rise of German discounters Aldi and Lidl, said underlying sales in its UK stores rose 0.7 per cent in the six weeks to January 7th.

That compares with analyst forecasts of growth of 0.3-1.5 per cent. Trading over Christmas built on like-for-like sales growth of 1.8 per cent for the 13 weeks to November 26th, Tesco’s fiscal third quarter, which was also reported on Thursday.

Tesco said that like-for-like sales in the Republic grew by 0.1 per cent over the 19-week period as the company invested in further lowering prices, particularly during the Christmas period. This drove strong volume growth and increased customer transactions, it said.


Strong progress

The group reiterated its outlook for the full year.

"We are very encouraged by the sustained strong progress that we are making across the group. In the UK, we saw our eighth consecutive quarter of volume growth and delivered a third successful Christmas," said Tesco boss Dave Lewis. "Our fresh food ranges proved particularly popular, outperforming the market with great quality, innovative new products and even more affordable prices."

He added: “We are well placed against the plans we shared in October to become more competitive for customers, simpler for colleagues, and an even better partner for our suppliers, whilst creating long-term value for our shareholders.”

Mr Lewis, who has led an overhaul since he took over from Philip Clarke in 2014, aims to slash costs by £1.5 billion over the next three years to help boost margins and return the group to bottom-line profit growth.