Tesco sales dip for fourth quarter

 

The UK's biggest supermarket Tesco reported falling sales for the fourth quarter in a row today despite its £500 million price-cutting campaign.

In the UK, where it has 2,700 stores, Tesco recorded a 0.9% decline in like-for-like sales excluding VAT and petrol in the 13 weeks to November 26, equal to the drop seen in the previous quarter.

Despite the decline, the grocer insisted the results of its Big Price Drop, which saw the cost of 3,000 everyday products slashed, were "promising" as food volumes rose by a whole percentage point, offsetting the deflationary impact of its price cuts.

Elsewhere, Tesco saw a significant slowdown in Asia, which has driven the overall group performance in previous months, where like-for-like sales grew 0.8%, compared with 3.9% in the second quarter, as the impact of flooding in Thailand and warm autumn temperatures in South Korea and China took their toll.

Shares were down 1% after the trading update, which Kate Calvert, retail research analyst at Seymour Pierce stockbrokers, called "uninspiring".

She said Tesco's use of the word promising to describe the early results of its Price Drop strategy was not "particularly encouraging language".

Tesco covered its price cuts by slashing the number of multi-buy promotions and scrapping its double Clubcard points reward offer.

The offensive triggered an aggressive response as competitors responded with their own schemes, such as Sainsbury's Brand Match campaign and Asda's move to bring petrol prices down.

Tesco's market share slipped to 30.5% in the 12 weeks to November 27, from 30.7% a year ago, researchers Kantar Worldpanel said this week, but customer numbers were still up.

Chief executive Philip Clarke said: "Times are tough for a number of our customers at home and in a number of our international markets."

The grocer said it had seen an improvement in the decline in its like-for-like sales of non-food items, with strong performances in the home and electricals sectors offsetting a weaker show from CDs and home entertainment categories.

Tesco said it had seen strong performances in new stores, as total sales including VAT and petrol grew by 6.7% in the period, while online sales increased by 10%.

The group's Asian powerhouse market faltered in the quarter due to a number of temporary factors hitting sales.

In Thailand, like-for-like sales slowed from 7.5% to 1.4% as devastating floods forced the closure of 165 stores across the country.

Meanwhile, the warmest autumn in northern Asia for 75 years affected seasonal merchandise sales, particularly in South Korea, where same-store sales slowed from 0.9% growth to 0.3% and in China where like-for-like sales grew 3.4%, compared with 6.1%.

Its Europe division strengthened, with like-for-like sales up 0.9%, compared with 0.1% in the previous quarter, driven by Poland and Slovakia.

The loss-making US business, Fresh & Easy, which aims to break even by the end of the 2012/13 financial year saw like-for-like sales growth of 11.9% as customer numbers increased and average spend was higher.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links