British supermarket chain Tesco has announced a significant increase in like-for-like (LFL) sales during the third quarter (Q3) and Christmas trading period of fiscal 2023/24.
Q3 covered the 13 weeks to 25 November 2023 and Christmas covered the six weeks to 6 January 2024.
The company recorded strong performance in the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI) markets, with 7.3% LFL sales, excluding VAT and fuel, in Q3 and 6.4% over Christmas.
Growth was spearheaded by a 7.9% increase in the UK and an 8.3% rise in the ROI during the quarter, while Central Europe experienced a slight decline of 1.4%.
During the Christmas period, Tesco’s LFL sales grew by 6.8%, including a remarkable 9.2% growth in the four weeks to Christmas.
Sales in the ROI also saw a healthy increase of 5.5% during the festive season.
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Over the 19 weeks to 6 January 2024, combined LFL sales for the UK and the ROI went up by 6.9%, driven by a 7.5% increase in the UK and a 7.3% rise in the ROI.
Tesco’s online sales grew by 11.5%, with year-on-year improvements in orders, volumes, pick rates and availability.
For the fiscal year 2023/24, Tesco now anticipates a retail adjusted operating profit of £2.75bn ($3.50bn), surpassing the previously guided range between £2.6bn and £2.7bn.
This performance is expected to result in a strong retail free cash flow generation of £2bn.
Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy stated: “The Tesco team has worked harder than ever to help customers celebrate this Christmas, with our strongest ever range of great value, fantastic quality food. I want to say a huge thank you to all of our colleagues for their relentless dedication and energy.
“We stepped up our investment in service over the key festive period, with more colleagues on the shop floor, helping to deliver market-leading availability and making this our best Christmas yet.
“Over the period we cut nearly 2,700 prices, with a further 150 prices cut just this week, cementing our position as the UK’s cheapest full-line grocer. Our powerful combination of great value, quality, availability and service means that we head into the New Year in great shape to keep delivering for customers.”