Fresh food drives record Christmas at Tesco

Dianna Christensen
January 12, 2018

WM Morrisons PLC (LON:MRW) was next up and it reported a 2.8% rise in sales in the 10 weeks to 7 January on the back of efforts to improve customer service and offer competitive prices.

But Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the partnership which owns the department store chain as well as supermarket Waitrose, admitted that pressure on profit margins had intensified amid rising costs thanks to the pound's Brexit-related weakness, and warned that trading would remain "volatile" for the year ahead.

And its UK Birchwood Farm whole fresh turkey, priced £3.89 per kg, was the most competitively priced turkey on supermarket shelves, which helped the retailer grow meat and poultry sales by 17% over the month.

Tesco's shares fell by 3.5 percent this morning despite the company stating that it had "outperformed" over the Christmas period.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black says tobacco sales took 0.5% off United Kingdom and Ireland like-for-like sales over six weeks.

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

Tesco said all its formats, covering stores and online, had performed well, resulting in record sales and volumes in the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day.

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Tesco's sales in Central Europe increased by 0.6 per cent but Asia declined by 11.1 per cent, resulting in a group like-for-like sales growth of 0.6 per cent for the quarter.

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.

Marks & Spencer recorded a 1.1% uplift in United Kingdom revenue, but global sales were down 9.8%, reflected the completion of the planned closure of owned stores in loss-making markets.

Over Christmas, sales of fresh food brands and the Tesco finest range were particularly strong.

Like-for-like sales at Marks & Spencer (M&S) were underwhelming, dropping by 0.4%.

While inflationary pressures remained a problem for many United Kingdom food firms, Tesco said it had continued to work with its supplier partners to help mitigate the impact on its customers.

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