For the 19 weeks to January the chain witnessed a like for like growth of 6.7%, accelerating to 8.1% at Christmas, with the store crediting food purchases for this boost in sales.
Tesco also saw a surge in online demand, as consumers turned to the internet to carry out grocery shopping during the pandemic. According to the company, online sales growth was marked at over 80% which equates to nearly £1bn extra sales over the 19-week period.
Sales in Tesco’s larger stores grew strongly as well due to customers now favoriting “larger, less frequent shopping trips”.
Despite these strong trading results the company is still dealing with the financial strain of Covid-19. With issues such as staff absences seeing Tesco take a predicted £810m hit – an increase of £85m since its last estimate.
Ken Murphy, chief executive, Tesco: “Our focus on looking after our customers, including delivering record availability, robust safety measures and great value has enabled us to maintain strong momentum through the Christmas period, outperforming the market every week.
“We delivered a record Christmas across all of our formats and channels. In response to unprecedented demand for online groceries, colleagues delivered over seven million orders containing more than 400 million individual items over the Christmas period.”
He added: “We’re now supporting 786,000 vulnerable customers with priority access to online slots and, as lockdown measures continue, we’ll keep doing everything we can to ensure everyone can safely get the food and essentials they need.
“Our colleagues went above and beyond, rising to every challenge in the most exceptional of circumstances and I thank every one of them for this. We’re in great shape to keep delivering in 2021 and beyond.”