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Worse than expected sales slump at supermarket giant Tesco

TESCO, the UK's biggest supermarket, today revealed a worse-than-expected drop in sales in the run-up to Christmas as it admitted its Big Price Drop had failed to pull in enough customers.

Tesco, which has 2,700 stores in the UK, said the 2.3pc decline in like-for-like sales excluding VAT and petrol in the six weeks to January 7 was below its own expectations and "disappointing".

The grocer, which triggered a price war with its £500 million price-cutting campaign at the end of September, said the number of customers drawn in by its latest promotion had not been enough to offset the lower prices.

Chief executive Philip Clarke said: "In a challenging economic environment, we made good progress internationally but despite record sales, we are disappointed with our seasonal trading performance in the UK."

Yesterday, rival Sainsbury's reported a 2.1pc increase in like-for-like sales excluding fuel but including VAT in the 14 weeks to January 7, with analysts estimating sales would have been flat if VAT was taken out of the figures.

Earlier this week, research figures revealed Tesco's market share for the 12 weeks ending on Christmas Day dropped from 30.5pc a year ago to 30.1pc.

PA Media