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Tesco's first-quarter group sales up 2.2 per cent

Despite weak consumer confidence, the British supermarket chain holds steady.

Tesco’s performance in the UK has been steady during a challenging quarter for the industry as a whole. Despite weak consumer confidence, the British supermarket chain’s group sales increased by 2.2 per cent including petrol for the 13-week period ended 26 May 2012. On a like-for-like (LFL) basis, however, this still represents a fall in group sales of 0.6 per cent.

Its UK LFL sales including VAT and petrol declined by 1.1 per cent, compared to a growth of 1.2 per cent in fourth-quarter 2011-2012.

European LFL sales excluding petrol increased by 0.4 per cent (Q4 2011/2012: 0.3 per cent), while US LFL sales increased by 3.6 per cent (Q4 2011/2012: 12.3 per cent).

In Asia, total sales grew by 9.1 per cent at constant rates and 9 per cent at actual exchange rates, with positive LFL sales growth and a good contribution from new store openings.

Tesco’s international sales including petrol grew 2.9 per cent during the quarter.    

Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco, said:

Tesco has performed robustly in the first quarter despite subdued consumer confidence in all our markets.

We are rapidly implementing our six-point UK plan and I'm particularly proud of the relaunch of our Everyday Value range and the fact we have now put extra staff into 700 of our stores: in 500 of them within the last three weeks alone. Our customers are seeing the evidence of the changes we're making and they're telling us they like what they see.

Internationally, LFL sales growth proved resilient, despite slowing economic growth in China and the emerging impact of recently introduced shopping hours legislation in South Korea. Against the backdrop of continuing uncertainty in the eurozone, it is pleasing to see that our businesses have largely sustained their performance.

As part of its six-part plan, the company has refreshed over 100 stores since the start of the year. A total of 4,300 additional new staff have been recruited and over 145,000 staff have been given specialist training.