Tesco posts another quarter of sales growth in Ireland
Tesco's sales in Ireland edged 0.3pc higher during the first quarter on a like-for-like basis, mirroring the retailer's performance in the UK.
It described the performance in Ireland as "positive", adding that it continues to make further investment in price reductions across core food lines.
The retailer held its annual general meeting yesterday, and told shareholders that its launch in the UK of seven exclusive fresh food brands in March had helped to meet more of its customers' shopping needs.
The retailer - which is still in the throes of a major restructuring designed to reinvigorate the chain - also said that it has agreed to sell its Harris + Hoole coffee chain business to Caffe Nero.
That follows the sale of its Dobbies Garden Centres business last week for £217m to Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital. Tesco has also offloaded its business in Turkey, and sold its Giraffe restaurant chain.
The group has been trying to cut its debt to escape its junk credit rating. Last year, Tesco sold its South Korea arm for $6.1bn, leaving it with retail businesses in Ireland, Thailand, Malaysia and central Europe. Chief executive Dave Lewis said the market remains challenging. "We are encouraged by the progress we are making," he added. He also said that no more asset sales are planned.
Tesco's like-for-like sales in Ireland - and the UK - have now grown for two successive quarters. It notched up 1pc growth in Ireland in the previous quarter.
That followed steep declines in previous quarters. Tesco is vying to regain its position as Ireland's biggest grocery retailer, having lost the position to SuperValu, the brand controlled by Cork-based retail group Musgrave.