Tesco Ireland records highest market share growth in five years

Javier Stokes
January 12, 2018

In the four weeks before Christmas Day Tesco enjoyed "record sales and volumes" and in the first week of December Tesco reported its biggest ever week of sales, outstripping the market by almost four per cent in fresh food.

Reporting a continued deterioration of conditions, the company noted both falling food and clothing sales over the crucial Christmas weeks, extending a trend that has been dogging the company for many quarters, despite both segments weakened by less than expected.

"Our trading momentum accelerated across the third quarter and into December, with the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivering record sales and volumes in the United Kingdom", he added.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, like-for-like sales are up 2.3% in the 19 weeks to 6 January as lost tobacco sales held back further growth.

Mr Lewis said that, particularly in fresh food, Tesco had managed to outperform the market throughout the Christmas period.

Marks & Spencer recorded a 1.1% uplift in United Kingdom revenue, but worldwide sales were down 9.8%, reflected the completion of the planned closure of owned stores in loss-making markets.

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The supermarket giant said United Kingdom like-for-like sales rose 1.9 per cent in the 19 weeks to January 6, driven by a strong grocery performance.

But he added that the collapse of the Palmer & Harvey tobacco supplier had taken "the shine off an otherwise outstanding performance for the period as a whole".

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said it had seen revenue grow both in-store and online in the weeks leading up to Christmas while it maintained its full-price stance in a "very promotional market" and did not participate in the Black Friday discount day.

"Sales in clothing and home actually fell by the biggest margin, but in a market which is shrinking, that's more a reflection of wider economic trends", he said.

Despite the upbeat update, Tesco's results have failed to spark enthusiasm among investors, which have sold off the supermarket's shares this morning.

"Following another good staging post in Dave Lewis" time in charge of Tesco, Shore Capital reiterates our "buy' stance on the group's shares".

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