Strong food sales including a reported “biggest food sales day in history” helped Tesco post a slight Christmas sales increase in the UK and Ireland despite a “challenging environment”.
Tesco reported a 0.4% increase in like-for-like sales during the six-week period ending 4 January, however this is a marked slowdown compared with the 2.6% like-for-like increase it posted during the same period the previous year.
Performance at its wholesale arm Booker was also up 2.3%.
Tesco’s outgoing chief executive, Dave Lewis, said that the supermarket had “performed well” in a “subdued market”.
He said: “In a subdued UK market we performed well, delivering our fifth consecutive Christmas of growth.
“In our centenary year, our customer proposition was compelling, our product offering very competitive and thanks to the outstanding contribution of our colleagues, our operational performance was the best of the last six years. As a result, this Christmas we had the biggest ever day of UK food sales in our history.”
However, a weak Q3 for the 13-weeks to 23 November meant that combined Q3 and Christmas group sales were down 0.9% on a like-for-like basis and 1.5% overall at £21bn.