Tesco battles back against the cold to report sales rise

Tesco revealed the unprecedented steps it has taken to combat the recent snow yesterday, as a strong international performance by the grocery giant more than offset subdued sales growth in the UK in its third quarter.

Tesco has invested £1.3m in its winter operation, which includes 3,000 tonnes of grit and salt – 50 per cent more than last year – and its purchase of 150 Honda quad bikes to clear the snow in its store car parks more quickly. Laurie McIlwee, Tesco's group finance director, said: "We have been running our supply chain three hours earlier to compensate for longer journeys." He added that the company viewed the icy conditions as an opportunity to deliver a "competitive advantage".

Tesco, which has operations in 14 countries, played down the overall impact of the snow, stressing that only one UK store – in Scunthorpe, where the part of the roof collapsed last week under the weight of snow – had closed and remained so.

The UK's dreadful weather came after the end of Tesco's latest quarter to 27 November during which it grew group sales by 8.8 per cent. The supermarket giant's international sales jumped by 15.7 per cent, driven by Asia where Thailand was the top performer. The world's third-biggest retailer said that sales in Asia soared by 23.4 per cent, boosted by new store openings, such as in China and South Korea.

In the UK, Tesco's total sales growth came in at a less-spectacular 5 per cent over the quarter. Its like-for-like sales, including value-added tax and excluding petrol, only rose by 1.5 per cent. This represented anaemic growth of 0.6 per cent when VAT is excluded.

But Tesco said its performance had "strengthened" at the end of the quarter. Mr McIlwee said: "We will have the best-ever Christmas in the UK."

In addition to all its convenience stores, Tesco will open a record 401 stores on Boxing Day, including every Extra hypermarket and selected Superstores, compared with 257 last year.

Sam Hart, an analyst at Charles Stanley, said: "In the UK, the group is seeing plenty of evidence of recovering consumer confidence, with sales of the premium Finest range up by 20 per cent over a two year period and strong demand for big-ticket non-food items such as Apple iPads and the Microsoft Xbox Kinect games console."

Tesco currently has 300 of its Finest range on promotion, which is up on last year. Elsewhere, the grocer received a fillip from Kantar Worldpanel yesterday. For the first time since May, Kantar said that Tesco grew its grocery market share by 0.1 per cent to 30.7 per cent for the 12 weeks to 28 November.

It said Tesco's sales grew by 4.4 per cent, which was ahead of Asda's 4.2 per cent and Morrisons' 3 per cent, but behind Sainsbury's 6.5 per cent growth.

In the US, Tesco's Fresh & Easy grew sales by 9.8 per cent. Mr McIlwee said: "If we get any tailwinds from the economic environment, we will get an even better performance."

Prices fall in shops

* Shop prices fell in November for the first time in five months, driven by a record level of food promotions and retailers discounting before January sales.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen survey said the annual rate of overall shop-price inflation fell to 2 per cent last month, down from 2.2 per cent in October. Stephen Robertson, the BRC's director general, said: "38 per cent of fast-moving consumer goods are on some form of offer, which is an all-time high. On non-food goods too, discounts and special offers have started well ahead of the January sales, as the dip in overall shop inflation demonstrates."

Food inflation fell to 4 per cent in November from 4.4 per cent in October, while non-food prices slipped back to 0.9 per cent from 1.1 per cent.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics rally to defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
News
John Cleese is promoting his new book
people
News
A-list actresses such as Deepika Padukone get paid a tenth of what their male counterparts make per film
news
News
The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
TV
News
Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
peopleUS footballer said he had hoped Michael Sam and Jason Collins coming out might have helped
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game