Tesco surprises city with blockbuster Christmas

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The UK's leading retailer Tesco has reported its strongest Christmas in the UK for three years.

Like-for-like sales were up 1.8 per cent in the six weeks ending January 5th. Online food sales were the star, climbing 18 per cent. It's a fantastic turnaround for the supermarket, having reported a 2.3 per cent drop in the same period last year.

Total Group sales excluding petrol grew 3.9 per cent, although European sales were down 0.6 per cent.

For comparison, Morrisons suffered a 2.5 per cent drop and Sainsbury's a lower than expected 0.9 per cent rise.

"What a difference a year makes,” Richard Hunter from Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers told the BBC. Last January Tesco issued a profits warning which precipitated a 20 per cent fall in the share price and questions being asked about the validity of the strategy.

"Today's statement follows a year of transformation and is proof positive that Tesco is fighting to regain its previously unassailable position in the UK."