Fresh food drives record Christmas at Tesco
Tesco experienced its highest rate of market share growth in the Republic of Ireland for five years, contributing to the retailer recording its best ever Christmas sales.
In the Republic of Ireland sales were up 4pc during the Christmas period, while sales were up 3.3pc overall in Ireland in the three months to 31 December.
In the UK like-for-like sales growth of 1.9pc, driven by a 3.4pc like-for-like increase in sales of food, was offset by ongoing drag from general merchandise and lost tobacco sales due to the Palmer & Harvey integration.
"Our trading momentum accelerated across the third quarter and into December, with the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivering record sales and volumes in the UK," Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, said.
"Incorporating Palmer & Harvey volumes and complexity during this peak period was challenging, resulting in lost tobacco sales across December and putting further strain into our distribution network, particularly post-Christmas...these challenges have now been resolved, [but] they took the shine off an otherwise outstanding performance for the period as a whole," Mr Lewis said.
Tesco recorded 58 million customer transactions and 770,000 online grocery deliveries in the key Christmas week, according to a trading update from the company.
Outside of Ireland and the UK, the retail giant experienced "positive" like-for-like sales growth of 0.8pc in Central Europe in the three month period, as it improved its customer offering.
However in Asia, sales were down almost 10pc in the three month period, which the company said reflected the ongoing impact of ceasing unprofitable bulk selling activities in Thailand.
Looking forwards Tesco said it was confident in the outlook for the full year and that it was “firmly on track” to deliver its medium-term ambitions.