Tesco enjoys its 'biggest' Christmas in the UK

Tesco enjoys its 'biggest' Christmas in the UK

FTSE 100-listed Tesco said it performed well in the Christmas period, which ran from the start of December to January 6, with UK & Ireland sales rising 2.0% on the previous year on a like-for-like basis.

"We are confident in the outlook for the full year and are firmly on track to deliver our medium-term ambitions".

For the third quarter of fiscal 2018, group like-for-like sales rose 0.9%, Tesco said.

The year-on-year United Kingdom sales increase of 1.9% was driven by 3.4% like-for-like growth in food sales, and in particular, 3.7% growth in fresh food.

The German chain said sales rose 16% in December as it experienced its highest ever footfall.

Tesco also took a significant hit from lost tobacco sales after the collapse of wholesaler Palmer & Harvey in November put an extra strain on its distribution network. Morrison Supermarkets PLC said (MRW.LN) Christmas sales exceeded expectations, while J Sainsbury PLC (SBRY.LN) on Wednesday said it expected fiscal 2018 earnings to beat consensus figures following a successful performance in its peak period.

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Lidl has claimed it was the "fastest growing supermarket" over Christmas after booking record festive sales.

But Tesco said it is working with suppliers to mitigate inflation and Mr Lewis said consumers are still "cautious" about how they are spending their money.

Tesco has posted a like-for-like sales increase of 2.2% in its United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland operations over the 19-week period incorporating its third quarter and Christmas.

The Group noted that its Asia like-for-like sales were down 11.1% over the 19-week period, with its decision to withdraw from bulk selling activities in Thailand continuing to be the main driver of the decline.

During the Christmas trading period, Tesco said it had its "biggest ever" sales week in the United Kingdom, driven by the outperformance of fresh food sales - up almost 4%. Current accounts have now passed 250,000, Tesco said.

He said: "We have continued to outperform the market throughout this period, particularly in fresh food, thanks to our most competitive offer for many years".

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