Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Tesco has strongest Christmas sales for three years

Tesco Metro

The UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, has said it enjoyed its best Christmas performance for three years, after seeing a "strong" rise in sales.

UK like-for-like sales - which do not include new store openings - excluding petrol and VAT, had risen by 4.9% in the six weeks to 9 January, Tesco said.

However, Tesco offered double points on its Clubcard loyalty scheme, which contributed 0.7% to the sales growth.

Meanwhile, Debenhams said its sales had been little-changed in recent months.

In the 18 weeks to 2 January, like-for-like sales had increased by 0.1%, the department store said.

Online growth

TRADING UPDATES AT A GLANCE
M&S - like-for-like sales up 0.8% in three months to 26 December
John Lewis - revenues of £500.8m in five weeks to 2 January, like-for-like sales up 12.7%
Next - like-for-like sales up 3.2% in 22 weeks to 24 December
Asda - said it had a "solid" Christmas
Majestic Wine - like-for-like sales up 11.7% in nine weeks to 4 January
Ocado - like-for-like sales up 30% in four weeks to 26 December
Shop Direct - sales up 6.3% in six weeks to 1 January
Sainsbury's - like-for-like sales up 3.7%, excluding fuel, in the 13 weeks to 2 January.
Poundland - like-for-like sales up 4.4% during the five weeks to 3 January
Co-op - reported a 4.8% increase in sales, excluding fuel, in the 12 weeks to 2 January

Tesco shares rose 2.3% in early trading to 427.45 pence.

Like its rival Sainsbury's, Tesco reported a rise in champagne sales as customers were "looking for ways to treat themselves". It sold 35% more bottles of champagne than last year.

The supermarket giant added that its Finest range had sold particularly well.

Non-food sales were boosted by growth in clothing, electrical goods and toys.

Tesco added that online sales had grown by nearly 20% in the six-week period.

The company's finance director, Laurie McIlwee, denied there were any shortages on the shelves as a result of deliveries being delayed in the bad weather.

"Our suppliers have worked very well with us through some difficult times," he said. "I see our availability as [being as] strong as it's been throughout the year."

Profit focus

Debenhams said its Christmas sales had been in line with its forecasts, given that it had been moving retailing space away from concessions and focusing on its own labels.

Chief executive Rob Templeman said he was pleased with the performance.

"Our continued focus on cash margin means that for the second year in succession we have delivered an increase in profit before tax over the Christmas trading period," he said.

Debenhams and Tesco are the latest retailers to update the market on how they have performed over Christmas.

Separately, the British Retail Consortium said retailers enjoyed their strongest December growth for eight years, with like-for-like sales increasing by 4.2%.



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SEE ALSO
Christmas sales beat expectations
12 Jan 10 |  Business
Retailers see healthy Christmas
11 Jan 10 |  Business
Retailers face 'very tough' 2010
10 Jan 10 |  Business
'Strong' trading at Sainsbury's
07 Jan 10 |  Business
Sales at John Lewis reach record
05 Jan 10 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Telegraph Tesco sales confound its critics - 7 hrs ago
Financial TimesTesco takes the Clubcard route to buoyant sales - 11 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Tesco enjoys best Christmas in three years - 20 hrs ago
Sky News Clubcard And Xmas Treats Lift Tesco - 28 hrs ago
Ananova Clubcard And Champers Set Tesco Fizzing - 28 hrs ago
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