Tesco Ireland sales see minimal Christmas boost

Tesco Ireland sales see minimal Christmas boost

Tesco has reported sales of £873m (€1.03bn) for its Irish operations for the 19 weeks up to January 4, which covers the company’s third-quarter and the Christmas trading period.

That represented a minimal annual increase of 0.7%. However, the British supermarket giant said like-for-like sales in the Republic rose by 2%. Tesco said its Irish sales growth was helped by its pricing campaigns and its online grocery business, which made a strong contribution, with nearly 1% growth in orders.

On a group-wide basis, Tesco reported just over £21bn in sales for the 19 weeks; down by just under 1% on a year-on-year basis.

In its home market of the UK, Tesco rode out a “subdued” Christmas to lift sales by 0.1%, enough to beat its main rivals, amid the toughest high-street conditions in years.

Group chief executive, Dave Lewis, said Tesco’s UK stores delivered the best operational performance of his five-year tenure.

“That combination, of a compelling offer delivered brilliantly well, helped us to outperform the [UK] market, even against a challenging backdrop,” he said.

Tesco sold more food on December 23 than on any other day of its 100-year history, Mr Lewis said, with 890,000 customers in the UK served in a single, peak hour of trading.

Britain’s biggest supermarkets — Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Walmart-owned Asda, and Morrison’s — recorded the lowest sales growth over the Christmas trading period for five years, industry data has shown.

British shoppers had been cautious in 2019, as wage growth slowed and political uncertainty gripped the country.

Tesco, which has a 27.4% share of Britain’s grocery market, also updated on trading in the third-quarter period before Christmas, when life-for-like sales fell by 0.4%, before customers returned to stores for Christmas. In Ireland, Tesco is currently the third-largest grocer, with a 21.3% market share.

Mr Lewis will step down this year and be replaced by Irish businessman Ken Murphy, a former executive at healthcare group Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Additional reporting, Reuters

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