Tesco reports strong Christmas trading
Tesco reported group sales rose 7.5% at constant exchange rates (6.9% at actual rates) in the six weeks to 9 January 2010. International sales (excluding petrol) increased 4.1% at constant rates and 2.4% at actual rates, driven by Tesco’s Asian operations which experienced a 7.8% sales uplift at constant rates (8% at actual rates). In Europe, sales grew by 0.8% at constant exchange rates (excluding petrol) but down 2.2% at actual rates (excluding petrol), reflecting the tough trading conditions in Eastern Europe and the Republic of Ireland. Meanwhile, Tesco’s US fledgling Fresh & Easy posted total sales growth of 35% at constant rates (24% at actual rates) over the festive period.
In Tesco’s home market, the UK, sales improved on last year increasing by 8.3% (8% excluding petrol), the company’s strongest Christmas performance in three years. Like-for-likes excluding petrol and including VAT rose 5.1%, boosted 0.7% by GBP34 million (USD55.18 million) of Clubcard vouchers which were redeemed over the festive period. VAT adjusted like-for-likes rose 4.9%. Christmas saw customers trading up, with Tesco’s Finest range performing well and 35% more bottles of champagne sold compared to last year. Non-food performance continued to strengthen with improving like-for-like sales driven by good growth in toys, clothing and electricals. Tesco’s online business performed strongly with total sales growth approaching 20% and 50% growth in Tesco Direct. In the run up to Christmas, Tesco delivered over 100 million grocery items through its online business to almost 1.5 million customers.
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