Disastrous Christmas for Tesco and M&S as UK retailers release festive trading figures

The announcement of festive sales figures wiped £1 billion off the collective share prices of Tesco and M&S, although hit products such as Heston Blumenthal’s gin make the picture less bleak for Waitrose.

Super Thursday, the day when major retailers release their Christmas trading figures, proved anything but super for Tesco and M&S yesterday.

Tesco reported an overall growth of 1.9% over the key weeks before and after Christmas, suffering from a poor performance in computers, gifts and DVDs.

Food sales at Tesco enjoyed a growth of 3.4%, but this wasn’t enough to stop its share price falling by nearly 5% due to disappointment that the figures were well short of its predicted 3.2% growth. This comes as a blow to chief executive David Lewis’s dramatic revival of the grocery business.

At M&S the picture was much bleaker, with food sales down by 0.4% and clothing and homeware down 2.8%. The store suffered from uncompetitive food pricing (expensive brussel sprouts in particular) and problems with its website. Share prices plummeted by 6%.

Things were better for Waitrose, which was buoyed by hit products such as Heston Blumenthal’s citrus sherbet lazy gin and chocolate and ginger mince pies. It enjoyed an overall growth of 1.5%. Morrisons too grew by 2.8% in like-for-like sales in the six weeks leading up to 7 January.

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