Tesco delivers Christmas sales growth but keeps profit forecast

Tesco has reported Christmas sales growth of more than 7 per cent, as the UK’s largest supermarket kept its full-year profit forecast.

The supermarket chain on Thursday said that UK sales in the six weeks to January 7 grew 7.2 per cent, similar to the 7.1 per cent reported by its rival J Sainsbury on Wednesday.

UK sales over Tesco’s third quarter to November 26 came in at 5.2 per cent. Overall sales, which also include operations in Ireland, central Europe and the Booker wholesale business, were up 7.9 per cent over Christmas and 5.7 per cent in the third quarter.

Tesco said it continued to expect adjusted operating profit from its retail business of between £2.4bn and £2.5bn for the full year, with another £120mn-£160mn coming from its financial services unit.

Marks and Spencer, meanwhile, said that third-quarter food sales rose 6.3 per cent on a same-store basis, but not enough for the group to raise its full-year profit guidance.

Total sales were up 10.2 per cent, reflecting additional food store openings, the UK retailer said on Thursday.

Clothing and home sales increased 8.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 8.8 per cent in total over the same period, largely driven by a return to customers shopping in stores. Online clothing sales picked up just 0.7 per cent in the period.

M&S added that its clothing business reported its highest market share in seven years, suggesting that efforts to simplify ranges and move to a less promotional pricing strategy are bearing fruit.


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