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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 09:21 GMT
Tesco enjoys record festive sales
Tesco store
Tesco is Britain's biggest retailer
Supermarket giant Tesco has said it enjoyed a "successful" Christmas, with strong growth and record sales.

Excluding petrol, like-for-like UK sales - which ignore the impact of new store openings - rose by 5.9% in the six weeks to 6 January.

Sales were driven by organic foods and Tesco's premium "Finest" range.

The increase was at the top end of expectations and comes after rivals such as Sainsbury's and Morrisons have also reported record festive sales.

Net gains

Tesco said sales of its organic foods were up by 39%, while its "Finest" ranges saw meat and poultry sales increase by more than 55%.

It appears that Tesco can do little wrong at the moment
Richard Hunter

It also said that it enjoyed a record year in sales of many non-food goods, such as toys and games, electronics and clothing.

Tesco's internet business also experienced strong growth, with total sales up by more than 30% to over 150m. The firm said its grocery team delivered more than 14 million items in its busiest Christmas week to date.

The retailer added that its overseas businesses also traded well over Christmas and New Year, with international sales up by 15.8%.

Total group sales at Tesco - excluding petrol - were up by 9.9% over the period. Including petrol, group sales rose 9.5%.

The head of UK Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, Richard Hunter, said: "It appears that Tesco can do little wrong at the moment."

"For most investors, Tesco remains the darling of the sector."

According to industry experts TNS, Tesco increased its share of the UK market over the holiday period.

TNS said Tesco had a 31.4% share of all sales through UK supermarkets in the 12 weeks ending 31 December.

Strong Christmas at Sainsbury's
11 Jan 07 |  Business
Festive sales 'beat slump fears'
09 Jan 07 |  Business
Christmas surge buoys Morrisons
10 Jan 07 |  Business
M&S chief hails sales 'recovery'
09 Jan 07 |  Business
John Lewis Christmas sales sizzle
08 Jan 07 |  Business

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