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Gloucestershire Business News

Contrasting fortunes for retail giants after reporting Christmas sales figures

Two of the biggest names in British retail have issued trading statements about their performance over the Christmas period with the markets reacting in very different ways.

Following announcements by Sainsbury's, Aldi and Morrisons earlier this week, Tesco and Marks and Spencer released trading updates for the Festive period this morning.

Tesco reported that they had performed "well" as they reported a 0.4 per cent rise in like-for-like sales for the British Isles business.

Total sales for Tesco UK and Ireland were £16.807 billion for the 19 weeks to January 9, up 0.2 per cent overall and 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

That led to shares trading around 2 per cent higher than their opening price of 256p as the biggest name in British retail reported the "biggest ever day of UK food sales" in their 100-year history.

Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco said: "In a subdued UK market we performed well, delivering our fifth consecutive Christmas of growth.

In our Centenary year, our customer proposition was compelling, our product offering very competitive and thanks to the outstanding contribution of our colleagues, our operational performance was the best of the last six years.

"As a result, this Christmas we had the biggest ever day of UK food sales in our history."

Marks and Spencer shares reacted in a different way to their announcement of a 0.2 per cent rise in like-for-like sales, with shares losing nearly 10 per cent of their value.

Total UK revenue for Marks and Spencer for 13 weeks to December 28 came in at £2.767 billion, 0.6 per cent down overall, although up 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Food sales were up 1.5 per cent (up 1.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis) at £1.704billion, while clothing and home sales were 3.7 per cent down overall (1.7 per cent down l-f-l) at £1.063 billion.

Steve Rowe, chief executive of Marks and Spencer said: "We delivered an improved performance in Q3 across both main businesses.

The Food business continued to outperform the market and Clothing and Home had a strong start to the quarter, albeit this was followed by a challenging trading environment in the lead up to Christmas.

"As we drive a faster pace of change, disappointing one-off issues - notably waste and supply chain in the Food business, the shape of buy in Menswear and performance in our Gifting categories - held us back from delivering a stronger result.

"However, the changes we made earlier in the year in Clothing have arrested the worst of the issues of the first six months and we are progressively building a much stronger team for the future."

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