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Tesco Group Sales Decline Over Christmas

Tesco saw its overall Group sales fall by 0.6% (excluding petrol, 1.2% including petrol, at actual exchange rates) in the six week period over Christmas, according to a Christmas & New Year trading update issued this morning.

While the update does not include breakout figures for its Irish business, Tesco's total international sales fell by 0.7% (at constant exchange rates, excluding petrol), with total European sales falling by 0.8%.

Tesco said, however, that the period saw "a better like-for-like sales performance than the third quarter across every market."

In its core UK market, like-for-like sales declined 2.4%, driven "primarily by a weaker grocery market, and also reflect the impact of a tougher comparative," Tesco said.

"Our decision to significantly reduce our new store opening programme and our ongoing work to transform our general merchandise offer are also holding back top-line performance in the short term, particularly relative to others in the sector."

Chief executive Philip Clarke noted the progress Tesco has made in developing a multichannel offer, saying: "As expected, this Christmas saw a further consumer shift towards multichannel retailing, and Tesco continues to play a leading role. The increasing focus we have placed in recent years on extending our lead in online grocery and on rolling out our Express format to over 1,600 stores in the UK alone has positioned us well to meet customers’ changing needs."

© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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