Tesco revealed its best UK sales growth in three years as the chain's drive to reverse falling profits gathered pace over Christmas. Like-for-like sales in the UK grew by 1.8% in the six weeks to January 5.
Tesco shares opened 3% higher this morning. While the sales figure was better than City expectations, it was helped by comparisons with the previous Christmas, when the chain admitted mistakes with its pricing strategy in a performance that wiped billions of pounds from its share price.
In line with other retailers, Tesco said it enjoyed a strong online performance, with food sales growth of 18%. More than half a million food orders were fulfilled in the week before Christmas, with nearly 5% being picked up by customers using its drive-through Click & Collect service.
Chief Executive Philip Clarke said: "I am pleased with our performance over the important Christmas and New Year period in the UK, which reflects the progress we are making in improving our offer for customers.
"This performance was driven by a further improvement in our food business in-store and a strong contribution from online, which included our biggest ever week for internet sales, a successful first Christmas for Grocery Click & Collect and a better performance for Tesco Direct"