Tesco has again reported declines in sales at home and abroad as it outlined how it traded during Christmas and New Year.
The retailer said “further weakness in the UK grocery market” contributed to a 2.4% drop in its domestic like-for-like sales in the six weeks ended 4 January. Total UK sales were down 1.5%.
Tesco said its UK results also suffered from a “tougher comparative” with last year. It also pointed to its moves to scale back its store openings and “transform” its general merchandise ranges.
Internationally, Tesco’s sales fell again but it said its performance had improved. Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, were down 3.6%. In Tesco’s third quarter to 23 November, sales fell 4.6%.
Tesco said like-for-like sales in each of its European markets had improved, with sales in Poland and Hungary returning to positive territory. Like-for-like sales in Europe as a whole were down 1.6%. At constant exchange rates, total sales for Europe dropped 0.8%.
Like-for-like sales in Asia were “slightly weaker”, falling 5.9%, with the political disruption in Thailand affecting its business. At constant exchange rates, total sales in Asia declined 0.6%.
Group sales in the six-week period slid 1.2%.
Tesco’s shares were down 3.8% at 08:54 this morning to 316.25 pence.
Tesco said it expects to report a full-year group trading profit within the range of current market expectations, which it said were between GBP3.16bn (US$5.2bn) and GBP3.41bn.
Click here for a round-up of what retail analysts thought of Tesco’s trading update.