Tesco reveals falling UK sales

<p>Sales were down over the Christmas period for Tesco.</p>

Tesco has revealed a drop in like-for-like sales over the festive period, ending a testing 2013 for the supermarket company.

The firm announced that weakness in the grocery market was one of the reasons behind the fall in sales, though more than £1 billion was taken by Tesco in the five days before Christmas.

It was stated that £450 million was taken in UK online sales in just six weeks, which was up 14 per cent on the figures for the 2012 festive period.

The release of the festive sales data brings a difficult 2013 to an end for Tesco. After becoming embroiled in the horsemeat scandal a year ago, the supermarket lost ground on its rivals.

Offers

Philip Clarke, chief executive at Tesco, stated that the company has continued to invest in "compelling" offers to tempt members of the public into shopping at the firm.

"Further weakness in the grocery market as a whole continued to impact our performance in the UK," he said.

"Our ongoing work to Build a Better Tesco in the UK is also driving continued improvements for customers, although the effects are being masked in the short term by the strategic changes we have made to improve the long-term sustainability of our business – the transformation of our general merchandise business and the significant reduction in our new store opening programme."

Christmas was noted by the chief executive to have resulted in a further consumer shift towards multichannel retailing, which Mr Clarke claims Tesco continues to play a leading role in.

One major success story for Tesco during 2013 was the launch of its new budget tablet, the Hudl, which was a popular gift for Christmas last year.

Following the release of the sales data, the share price of Tesco was slightly down this morning on the back of the news. By 08:28 GMT, its stocks were almost three per cent lower when compared to the start of the session.

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