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Tesco sees online grocery orders rise, but overall sales are flat or falling across the group

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Tesco today said its focus on multichannel was delivering “record” online grocery orders.

The rise in ecommerce food transactions comes at a time when the UK’s largest retailer now offers one-hour grocery home delivery slots to more than 98% of the UK population, and has more than 200 grocery Click and Collect drive through sites. It is also trialling non-store Click and Collect locations in York.

But while ecommerce food orders rose, along with sales from its Express convenience stores, UK like-for-like sales fell by 1.5% in the 13 weeks to November 23.

Across the group, sales excluding petrol rose by 0.6%, and total sales growth in the UK was of 0.9%. When petrol was included, group sales were down by 0.8% and UK sales by 1.2%.

“Customers are continuing to respond positively to the changes we are making to the UK business to differentiate our offer and position Tesco as a multichannel leader,” said chief executive Philip Clarke. “These include the re-launch of finest, over 100 more store refreshes in the quarter and further investment into our fast-growing online grocery service.”

Clarke said the grocery market continued to be challenging as a result of pressures on UK household finances, and that ongoing work in its transformation plan was holding back sales performance in the short-term.

The company also said that response to the launch of its affordable Hudl tablet, designed to enable more customers to shop online, had beaten expectations, with more than 300,000 sold so far – “more than we had originally planned to sell in total in the run-up to Christmas”.

Clarke concluded: “We are confident that our strategic priorities – strengthening the UK business, establishing multichannel leadership and ensuring capital discipline – are the right ones and that they will drive long-term value and returns.”

Beyond multichannel, the supermarket reported flat international sales, with like-for-like sales falling in Asia and total sales down in Europe.

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