Economy

Tesco enjoys a record Christmas as food sales boost performance

Tesco enjoys a record Christmas as food sales boost performance

United Kingdom retailer Marks & Spencer has posted a 1.4% decline in like-for-like sales in its home market in its third quarter, with Food sales down 0.4% and Clothing & Home sales down 2.8%.

Similarly, Marks and Spencer Group lost 4.5 percent after reporting a 2.8 percent fall in like-for-like sales for its struggling clothing and home divisions over the Christmas quarter.

Tesco, which has been transformed by CEO Lewis following a 2014 accounting scandal, reported a 1.9% rise in like-for-like sales in its United Kingdom home market in the six weeks to January 6, below a forecast of 2.4-3.2%.

But Tesco said it had its biggest-ever sales week in the United Kingdom over the festive period, notching up 58 million customer transactions and 770,000 online grocery deliveries in the week before Christmas.

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Food sales rose 3.6% on a total basis to £1.666bn, but like-for-like food sales were down 0.4%.

That compared to analysts' average forecast of a 3.4 percent decline and a second quarter fall of 0.1 percent. "As outlined at our Interim results, we are making further changes to get the business back on track in the year ahead".

"I would describe the consumer as quite fragile and quite volatile and if there's a reason not to spend they take it", M&S Chief Executive Steve Rowe told reporters.

While premium sales fared well, it suffered on sales of produce such as Brussels sprouts as consumers on "tighter budgets" defected to rivals.

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The M&S boss said that despite the sales dip, he believed the retailer was right to resist the Black Friday discounting frenzy as it focused on restoring its price positioning.

Overall, its third quarter like-for-like sales were 1.4% lower.

Global sales during the quarter declined 9.8 percent to 309 million pounds (416.6 million dollars), while M&S.com sales of 309 million pounds improved 3 percent.

M&S re-set its strategy in November, two months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman, saying it would speed up store closures and relocations and re-position its food offer.

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Tesco's update is the latest from the so called Big Four supermarkets, which also includes Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons.


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