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Clothing review boosts Tesco Christmas trade

12 January 2018

John Lewis reported gross sales up 2.5% for the six weeks to December 30, while its sister company Waitrose booked a comparable sales rise of 1.4%.

But Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the partnership which owns the department store chain as well as supermarket Waitrose, admitted that pressure on profit margins had intensified amid rising costs thanks to the pound's Brexit-related weakness, and warned that trading would remain "volatile" for the year ahead.

However, when taking all of the Big 4 retailer's global markets into account, total like-for-like sales grew by 0.6 per cent during that period, but overall sales enjoyed a 1.8 per cent uplift.

The UK retail market faced a tough festive period as companies faced intense competition to win sales despite tightening consumer spending.

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Shares in Tesco were trading down 4.2 percent at 1250 GMT, the second worst performer after Marks & Spencer (Frankfurt: 534418 - news), the high street retailer which reported a fall in like-for-like Christmas sales on Thursday.

Strong turkey sales for Sainsbury's and Lidl come as British supermarkets report financial results covering the Christmas period.

It said "ongoing under-performance" in its food arm saw sales fall 0.4%.

But Tesco missed overall group forecasts for Christmas trading as strong sales of fresh food were undermined by lower demand for general goods such as DVDs and computer games.

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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.

This helped it notch up a 2.3% rise in third quarter comparable sales.

The wholesaler, which was the UK's largest tobacco supplier, went into administration in November, resulting in lost sales across Tesco stores.

Clothing and homeware fell 2.8 percent, food also dropped by 0.4 percent despite being seen as the most successful sector.

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M&S said a pick up in trading over the key Christmas weeks helped make up for a weak clothing market and more hard trading in its food business, with consumer spending under pressure amid a squeeze on budgets from inflation.

Clothing review boosts Tesco Christmas trade