Tesco reports strong Q1

Group sales for the retailer rise by 12.6 per cent excluding petrol in the thirteen weeks ending May 30th.
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The non-food business resumed modest like-for-like growth, with improved performance across most categories compared with the second half of 2008/9. Toys and stationery saw good growth along with electricals, homewares and horticulture.

In the UK, excluding petrol and VAT, like-for-like retail sales for the quarter increased by 4.3 per cent (3.3 per cent including VAT).

The early response of customers to the recent relaunch of the Clubcard scheme, which enables card holders to double the value of their money-off vouchers when they buy a wide range of products, has been encouraging, with over a million doubling up vouchers so far.

International sales increased by 20.1 per cent at actual exchange rates (11.4 per cent at constant rates). This included a resilient performance in Europe where, despite recessionary conditions in a number of markets, sales grew by 1.9 per cent.

Growth in Asia was 43.8 per cent, helped by exchange rates and continued strong performance from the converted Homever stores in Korea.

In the US customer numbers continue to grow strongly and sales grew by 174 per cent. In a statement, Tesco said:

“We have seen pleasing market share gains across our international network as we invest in lower prices for customers and push on with planned new store development.”

Operationally the business is performing in line with expectations and the outlook for the year as a whole remains unchanged.

Chief executive, Terry Leahy commented: "We've made a solid start to the financial year, maintaining good momentum in a challenging economic climate - by investing in our offer for customers and adjusting our businesses well locally to meet their changing needs.”

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