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Tesco turnaround on track as sales rise 1.9% over Christmas

PUBLISHED: 08:39 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:54 11 January 2018

Tesco says the 1,700 job cuts will imrpove accountability and efficiency. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Tesco says the 1,700 job cuts will imrpove accountability and efficiency. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Tesco has emerged as a festive winner after reporting a steep rise in sales over the critical Christmas trading period.

The supermarket giant said UK like-for-like seasonal sales rose by 1.9%, driven by a strong grocery performance.

This helped Tesco notch up a 2.3% rise in third quarter comparable sales.

READ: Lidl claims to be fastest growing supermarket after record Christmas footfall

MORE: Cheap veg helps supermarket Sainsbury’s to record Christmas

The figures are a further indication that Tesco’s turnaround under chief executive Dave Lewis is firmly on track.

Mr Lewis said: “We have continued to outperform the market throughout this period, particularly in fresh food, thanks to our most competitive offer for many years.

“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 UK.”

Tesco saw its biggest ever sales week in the UK over Christmas, with 58 million customer transactions and 770,000 online grocery deliveries in one week.

READ: Morrisons gives a strong start to festive trading updates from Big Four supermarkets

Food sales grew 3.4% on a like-for-like basis over Christmas, and the only blot was a drag from general merchandise and lost tobacco sales, which the firm blamed on the collapse of wholesaler Palmer & Harvey.

General merchandise comparable sales fell 0.6% over Christmas.

Mr Lewis added: “Incorporating Palmer & Harvey volumes and complexity during this peak period was challenging, resulting in lost tobacco sales across December and putting further strain into our distribution network, particularly post-Christmas.

“Whilst I am pleased to say these challenges have now been resolved, they took the shine off an otherwise outstanding performance for the period as a whole.”

Supermarkets are battling rising costs linked to the Brexit-hit pound, falling consumer confidence and fierce competition in the sector as Lidl and Aldi continue their relentless march.

But Tesco said it is working with suppliers to mitigate inflation and Mr Lewis said consumers are still “cautious” about how they are spending their money.

Shoppers have expressed shock after plans to shut to a “struggling” East of England Co-op store in Ipswich were announced.

From a tribute music festival to a muddy obstacle course – there are plenty of events for people to enjoy across Suffolk and north Essex this weekend.

Thousands of runners dressed in pink are expected to descend on Trinity Park near Ipswich this weekend to play their part in the fight against cancer.

Essex Police says it is “very concerned” for the welfare of two missing young people – who are believed to be together in the Colchester area.

Four people arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of a man in Chelmsford yesterday have been released.

Rail services between Ipswich and Cambridge are returning to normal after a freight train broke down at Bury St Edmunds this morning.

A 15-year-old girl from Ipswich who was reported missing to police is back home with her family.

The coast of California USA and Fore Street, Ipswich swimming pool are worlds apart in several ways, but for former Ipswich lady, Karen Quezada, nee Spanner, who now lives in California, the little Victorian built pool in Ipswich holds a special place in her heart.

The restoration of one the last working steam trains in East Anglia will take a major step forward this weekend.

At around 41p per day, I’ve always thought the BBC licence fee offered great value for money, writes Thrifty Living’s Sheena Grant.

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