On a grim day for United Kingdom grocers, shares in the UK's #1 supermarket Tesco are down this morning, towards the bottom of the pile on a notable Christmas sales miss.
Lewis said food, and particularly fresh food, were driving growth across all the company's stores and online, with the company selling over 600,000 turkeys and half a million kilos of fresh salmon.
Like-for-like (LFL) sales in the United Kingdom grew 2.3% in Q3 (13 weeks to 25 November).
It is also good news for the retailer after facing controversy over its £3.7 billion acquisition of wholesaler and convenience store operator Booker - which was given the final approval from the Competitions and Market Authority just before Christmas.
Like-for-like sales at Tesco grew by 6% for the 19 weeks to 6 January 2018.
Tesco's sales in Central Europe increased by 0.6 per cent but Asia declined by 11.1 per cent, resulting in a group like-for-like sales growth of 0.6 per cent for the quarter. While retail inflation remains a market-wide issue, Tesco's fresh categories significantly outperformed the market, with meat and poultry volume sales particularly strong.
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The group, which reset its strategy in November two months after Archie Norman joined as chairman, said clothing and homeware like-for-like sales fell 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30th, its fiscal third quarter. Chief executive Charles Wilson said the business had improved "choice, prices and service" for shoppers.
John Lewis reported gross sales up 2.5% for the six weeks to December 30, while its sister company Waitrose booked a comparable sales rise of 1.4%.
The performance of the fresh food category had been helped by a strong seasonal offer, said Tesco, including its "Festive 5" vegetable deal. It upgraded its full-year profit forecast following the solid overall performance, but saw non-food sales, including Argos, fall 1.4% and warned of a challenging market.
The retailer said its food business continued to experience ongoing trading pressures in the lead up to Christmas as consumer spending and choices reflected tighter budgets.
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