Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Tesco shares plunge despite Christmas sales growth

Overall sales were down 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30 better than the City had feared but appreciably worse than competitors such as Tesco and Sainsbury Tesco is festive winner reporting record Christmas sales
Orlando Vargas | 12 January, 2018, 03:21

This means for the overall 19 week period ending January 6, Tesco's United Kingdom like-for-like sales enjoyed a 2.1 per cent uptick, while its overall sales in the country rose by 2.3 per cent.

On the other side of the high street, it was a similar story for Marks & Spencer, this morning's worst performing FTSE 100 stock.

British department store John Lewis said on Thursday that its own trading was likely to remain volatile in 2018 after higher costs and tough competition blunted the benefits of solid Christmas sales.

However, sterling was enduring a rockier ride against the euro, slipping 0.5 per cent to 1.124.

We've already had a first glimpse of that here on Monday where United Kingdom 2017 consumer spending fell for the first time in five years.

Brent crude surged one per cent, or 69 cents, to $69.76 a barrel at the time of the London market close. Tesco had a good Christmas in its core United Kingdom business but disruption from the collapse of Palmer & Harvey was a drag and trading fell short of City expectations.

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.

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Tesco shares tumbled 3.5 percent after Christmas trading results in its core United Kingdom business fell short of market expectations.

That compared with analysts' average forecast of a 3.4 per cent decline and a second-quarter fall of 0.1 per cent.

The price war that has ravaged the industry (thank Aldi and Lidl for that) doesn't just effect the likes of Tesco and Morrisons and Waitrose - often seen as a more "premium" supermarket - Waitrose also complained of margin pressures.

Britain's biggest housebuilder Barratt Developments had a disappointing day's trading after being hit with a broker downgrade from Peel Hunt.

Lewis said food, and particularly fresh food, were driving growth across all the company's stores and online, with the company selling over 600,000 turkeys and half a million kilos of fresh salmon.

Total forward sales picked up by two per cent to £2.4 billion for the six months ending in December, as it cheered Government policies such as Help to Buy and the buoyant mortgage market. Shares closed down 17.2p to 617p.

Earlier this week, Marks & Spencer announced that Humphrey Singer, now group finance director at electronics retailer Dixons Carpohone, will be its new chief finance officer.

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