Tesco Ireland sales top €1bn as online orders jump 15%

Irish unit outperforms over final 19 weeks of 2019, including crucial Christmas trading

Sales were up 1.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis over the Christmas trading period

Sales were up 1.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis over the Christmas trading period

 

Tesco Ireland recorded sales of €1.02 billion in the final 19 weeks of last year, up 2 per cent on the same period a year earlier on a like-for-like basis.

In a trading statement, the retailer said Irish sales were 2 per cent higher for the company’s fiscal third quarter and up 1.9 per cent over the Christmas trading period from November 23rd to January 4th.

Online sales made a strong contribution to the Irish performance, Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said, with growth of close to 15 per cent in orders. He also cited the group’s “You Won’t Pay More” campaign here as a factor in boosting sales.

Ireland outperformed Tesco’s home market, where the supermarket group saw marginal growth in an anaemic UK Christmas market after seeing sales dip 0.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

“In a subdued UK market we performed well, delivering our fifth consecutive Christmas of growth,” Mr Lewis said.

Across the group as a whole, sales fell by 0.9 per cent over the 19 weeks to just over £21 billion, dragged down by weakness in central Europe and Asia. Tesco recently said it was reviewing its operations in Thailand and Malaysia after receiving interest from potential buyers, but it gave no further details on Thursday.

Tesco has a 27.4 per cent share of Britain’s grocery market and 21.3 per cent in Ireland, placing it behind SuperValu but ahead of Dunnes Stores.

Festive cheer

Mr Lewis, who has announced he intends to stand down this summer, said Tesco’s UK stores delivered the best festive operational performance of his five-year tenure. It sold more food on December 23rd than on any other day in the group’s 100-year history, Mr Lewis said, with 890,000 customers served in a single peak hour of trading.

Shares in the retailer were trading up 2 per cent in mid-morning trading, as analysts at Jefferies said the return to like-for-like sales growth was an encouraging sign of sustainable progress in the UK.

“The peak Christmas trading period in the UK has been a bit of a slog for the major grocers,” Shore Capital said, adding that Tesco had “given a solid report”.

Mr Lewis will be replaced by Ken Murphy, a former executive at healthcare group Walgreens Boots Alliance. – Additional reporting: Reuters