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Tesco reveals tepid Christmas sales figures

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By John Glenday, Reporter

January 10, 2013 | 2 min read

Supermarket giant Tesco is hoping it may have turned a corner after reporting its strongest growth in UK Christmas sales for nearly three years, a relatively modest 1.8% uptick.

The unspectacular figure represents sales growth over the six week period from 5 January as measured against the equivalent period last year.

Modest as it may be this figure is a marked improvement to last year when Britain’s biggest retailer notched up a 2.3% drop in sales, leading some to speculate that the firm’s upward march may have faltered.

Tesco cite food sales as being the engine of its recent turnaround with seasonal produce flying off the shelves and a particularly strong showing online where sales were up by 18%.

The retailer is in the midst of a major revamp of its UK estate under the auspices of group chief executive Philip Clarke, a programme which appears to be bearing fruit with total sales (excluding petrol) up by 3.9%.

By comparison supermarket rival Morrison reported a woeful 2.5% decline in sales for the six weeks to 30 December, overshadowed by Sainsbury’s which managed a 0.9% rise in sales over the 14 week period to 5 January.

Like for like sales at Marks & Sparks were down by 1.8% in the 13 weeks to 29 December and Iceland’s sales grew by a healthy 5& in November and December.

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