Tesco books steep rise in sales over Christmas

Overall sales were down 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30 better than the City had feared but appreciably worse than competitors such as Tesco and Sainsbury

Tesco books steep rise in sales over Christmas

Lewis said Tesco had passed on fewer price rises than the "big four", which also includes Wal-Mart owned Asda, and discounters Aldi and Lidl in the year to date.

The timing of these companies' announcements couldn't come at a more telling time" suggested Accendo Markets analyst, Henry Croft, "coming against the backdrop of a stellar period for German discounters, as per Kantar data earlier in the week, and outstanding performances from fashion retailers...as companies both young (Boohoo) and old (Ted Baker) see bumper demand...

Shares fell more than 2% after its update.

Just today, fashion retailers announce sales revenues 10-25% higher over the Christmas period, as companies both young (Boohoo) and old (Ted Baker) see bumper demand, further projecting the image of the cash conscious United Kingdom consumer wanting bang for their buck, especially at yuletide.

Like-for-like growth in sales is an indicator for retailers' current trading performance and caused M&S shares to drop 5.6 percent.

On Thursday, M&S said same store food sales fell 0.4%.

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The group also reported data for the third quarter, with United Kingdom like-for-like sales up 2.3%, having increased 2.1% in the second quarter. The fall in the second quarter was 0.1%. TCC Global director Bryan Roberts told City A.M. that Britain's biggest supermarket had not quite beaten its rivals.

"A last-minute rush proved too little, too late to rescue the overall period", Roberts added.

M&S said that "ongoing trading pressures" in the group's food business continued in the lead up to Christmas, as a result of customers' tighter budgets.

But an unseasonably mild October had resulted in an overall revenue decline for the quarter, while online sales also suffered, with growth slowing to 3%, from 6% in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile Sainsbury's upgraded its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday following a record Christmas of a 1.1% increase in like-for-like sales, but it warned of a challenging market amid weaker sales at Argos.

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