Tesco sales momentum slows as lockdown lifts

Tesco sales have grown marginally overall and declined in key markets, after surging last year with the shuttering of non-essential businesses. 

In the 13 weeks to 29 May, UK sales inched up by 0.5 per cent compared to last year. 

They fell by 6.1 per cent in the Republic of Ireland and 1.6 per cent in Central Europe, where the supermarket operates in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. 

However, the easing of lockdown proved good news for Tesco-owned Booker, which increased sales by 9.2 per cent as hospitality businesses opened their doors.

READ MOREAldi fails to ban Tesco price-match advert

The wholesale business’ strong performance dragged overall growth from the negatives to 1.3 per cent. 

Online sales are up by 22 per cent despite Tesco’s modest growth, suggesting customers are still reluctant to venture out to the supermarket even as lockdown lifts. 

Nevertheless, sales are up by a substantial 8.1 per cent since 2019, with UK sales having increased by 13 per cent. 

“We delivered a strong performance in the first quarter, even as we lapped the high demand of last year due to the pandemic,” Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said. 

“While the market outlook remains uncertain, I […] continue to be excited about the many opportunities we have to create value over the longer term.” 

He added that the Big 4 grocer planned on “developing our digital platform so we can serve our customers when, how and where they want”. 

The trading update comes after news that Amazon will overtake Tesco as the UK’s largest retailer over the next four years. 

Edge by Ascential, a data company, calculated that the technology giant will grow 16.3 per cent every year thanks to its rapidly-expanding grocery business. 

By 2025, it is predicted to reach £77.1 billion in sales, edging out Tesco’s predicted revenue of £76.1 billion. 



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