Tesco says rising sales fuelled by drive to keep prices low

Tesco says rising sales fuelled by drive to keep prices low

Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, has cemented its recovery, reporting its strongest quarterly sales performance in its home market in seven years despite rising prices.

Britain's biggest supermarket enjoyed its sixth straight quarter of growth as takings in United Kingdom stores open for at least a year rose 2.3 per cent, driven by marketleading demand for its fresh food.

The acceleration in Tesco's United Kingdom sales was mainly driven by fresh food, where the company noted there was "significant market outperformance".

Mr Lewis said the supermarket giant had been "working closely with our supplier partners to keep our prices low".

The performance was driven by 1.3 percent growth in customer transactions, 10 million more year-on-year, and by volume growth in fresh food of 1.6 per cent.

Lewis said: "This is a good start to the year".

Tesco's AGM takes place in London later.

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He said the grocery giant's update underscored his more sanguine outlook on United Kingdom supermarkets compared to general retailers, many of which are facing wider market challenges including an ongoing material channel shift.

The retailers are battling a rise in inflation, caused in large part by the fall in the pound since last year's vote to leave the European Union, and by a slowdown in wages growth.

British retail sales fell more sharply than expected in May, official data showed on Thursday, while data earlier this week showed British workers' earnings after inflation shrinking at the fastest pace since 2014.

Looking at the year as a whole, the board described "mixed" market conditions, but said it remained focussed on the delivery of its engine production ramp up, the continued execution of its transformation programme and growing its free cash flow.

"Tesco are on a roll getting their customer mojo back; stores are easier, more engaging and comparatively better value than they were a year ago".

That beat analyst estimates for an increase of 1.9 percent.

Chairman John Allan appealed for patience at the company's annual shareholders' meeting.

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