Wednesday 22 October 2014

Tesco lowers profit range after drop in Christmas sales

M&S clothing sales down but food performs better in lead up to festive season

Published 09/01/2014 | 07:23

Supermarket giant Tesco

Tesco, the world's third biggest retailer, posted another heavy drop in underlying sales in its main British market in the Christmas trading period, adding to pressure on management to end a run of poor results.

The comany has lowered its range for full-year trading profit after another heavy drop in underlying sales in its main British market.

The group, which on Thursday posted a 2.4pc fall in sales at British stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, for the six weeks to Jan. 4, said the change was due to further weakness in the grocery market and a greater than expected shift of general merchandise in the industry to online.

"The range has moved (down) at the top end by about £50m and at the bottom end it has moved nearly £150m down on the range," Tesco Chief Financial Officer Laurie Mcllwee told reporters.

"There are a new set of forecasts in the market that are more up to date with these very big changes and more appropriately reflect where we think our eventual outcome will be."

Tesco said it now expected to report a full year group trading profit within the range of current market expectations, which it said ranged between £3.16bn and £3.41bn.

Meanwhile, M&S said sales of non-food products, like clothing and homewares,  fell 2.1pc in the three months to December 28 and worse than expectations, in its fiscal third quarter.

M&S's food business, however, is performing better. Its sales rose 1.6pc percent versus analysts' forecasts of a rise of 1.1-2.5pc although the figures represented a slowdown.

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