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Tesco enjoys sales boost

Shoppers spent £480 million more at supermarket tills over Christmas than the year before during a record festive trading period in which Tesco has emerged as one of the big winners.

Total supermarket sales jumped by 1.8 per cent in the 12 weeks to January 1 in the fastest recorded growth in more than two years. After a long food price war, like-for-like grocery prices increased by 0.2 of a percentage point, ending a 28-month run of deflation.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, which compiles the data, said: “Last year retailers focused on simplifying their discounts and offers and the level of promotional sales has fallen to 37 per cent as a result, the lowest level over Christmas since 2009.”

Tesco recorded a 1.3 per cent rise in sales, particularly of fresh food. J Sainsbury recorded a fall, at -0.1 per cent. However, the Big Four grocers, which account for 71.4 per cent of the British market, weathered Christmas better than in previous years, achieving a 0.1 per cent sales increase.

This is the first time that all four collectively have grown since June 2014. Even Asda, which has been lagging Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Wm Morrison by some margin recently, improved its trading over Christmas with a 2.4 per cent drop in sales, a marked improvement on the 4.7 per cent decline reported in December.

Mr McKevitt said that Iceland and Waitrose also had a successful end to 2016 with sales rising by 9.6 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively.

Sales and market share at the aggressively expanding discounters Aldi and Lidl also rose, with the latter now accounting for 6 per cent of the market.

Source: - 11 January 2017