Tesco today says its online sales were well ahead of pre-Covid levels over the Christmas period. Ecommerce sales were 58.7% ahead in the 19 weeks to January 8, compared to the same time in 2019. About 1.2m orders were placed online each week – giving the UK’s largest supermarket its highest proportion of sales taking place online since the pandemic began. Its Whoosh fast home delivery service – which promises home delivery in less than an hour – is now available in more than 100 stores.
However, ecommerce sales were 12.2% down on the same time last year, a period when many customers opted to buy online during a second national lockdown, although supermarkets were able to open.
Tesco, an Elite retailer in RXUK Top500 research, today reports like-for-like (LFL) sales across all channels up by 2.6% over the period – its third quarter plus the Christmas period – compared to the same time last year, and by 8.2% on the same time two years ago. LFL sales strip the effect of store openings and closures out of the comparison.
In its core UK and Ireland market, sales came in at £18.6, 2.4% LFL ahead of last year, and 8.6% ahead of two years ago, boosted by a strong performance at its wholesale and trade catering business Booker (+17.5% year-on-year/+14.8% YO2Y). UK supermarket sales of £14.8bn were 0.2% up on last year, and 7.5% on two years ago.
Some 95% of Tesco promotions are now accessed via its Clubcard loyalty app – which 8.5m customers now use, says the supermarket. It says it now has its highest market share of four years.
Tesco says it now expects its full-year operating profit to be slightly above previous expectations, of between £2.5bn to £2.6bn.
Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy says: “We are delighted that we were able to help our customers have a great Christmas. Despite growing cost pressures and supply chain challenges in the industry, we continued to invest to protect availability, doubled down on our commitment to deliver great value and offered our strongest ever festive range. This put us in a strong position to meet customers’ needs as, once again, COVID-19 led to a greater focus on celebrating at home. As a result, we outperformed the market, growing market share and strengthening our value position.
“The entire Tesco team is at its best when it is delivering for customers and we are really pleased that so many customers who were new to Tesco during the pandemic have remained with us – either continuing to shop online or becoming regular in-store customers.”