Tesco sees record Christmas sales as shoppers treat themselves

Tesco sees record Christmas sales as shoppers treat themselves

Tesco saw “record” sales over Christmas as customers spoiled themselves in lockdown with online orders of deluxe range products.

UK like-for-like sales were up 8.1% in the six weeks to 9 January as the supermarket saw a 14% jump in demand for goods in its Tesco Finest range.

Sales of vegan Christmas alternatives also surged, it added.

Big grocers have benefited at a time when non-essential shops and restaurants are closed due to Covid.

Tesco said customers had “looked for more opportunities to treat themselves” as the UK faced strict restrictions over Christmas.

New boss Ken Murphy said: “We delivered a record Christmas across all of our formats and channels.

“In response to unprecedented demand for online groceries, colleagues delivered over seven million orders containing more than 400 million individual items over the Christmas period.”

Like other grocers, Tesco has seen strong online sales growth as people try to avoid shopping in physical stores where they can.

It said its online sales were up 80% in the 19 weeks to 9 January, equating to nearly £1bn in extra sales.

The retailer said it offered its largest ever festive range of free-from, vegan and vegetarian products this year, with sales of plant-based products increasing strongly.

It also hit a target of removing one billion pieces of plastic from products sold in the UK, including shrink wrap from multipacks, covers from greeting cards and plastic gifts from Christmas crackers.

Supermarkets have enjoyed bumper sales in the pandemic as people try to make up for not being able to go out and spend more on their weekly shop. But they have face criticism too.

Last month, Tesco said it would repay £585m of business rates relief after it was criticised for paying dividends to shareholders during the crisis. Most big grocers followed suit.

Tesco was later criticised for keeping its shops open on Boxing Day despite union calls to give staff the day off.

In its results the grocer said it had given all frontline staff a 10% bonus over Christmas. It also said it had shielded vulnerable staff and taken on nearly 35,000 additional temporary staff for the season.

“Our colleagues went above and beyond, rising to every challenge in the most exceptional of circumstances and I thank every one of them for this,” said Mr Murphy.

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