Tesco profits to beat expectations after strong Christmas trading

Tesco said on Thursday that full-year operating profit from its retail operations would be “slightly above” its previously indicated £2.5bn-2.6bn range after a Christmas trading performance that mirrored that of rival J Sainsbury.

UK sales over the Christmas period were up 0.2 per cent on last year, higher than Citi’s estimate for flat sales. For the 19 weeks to January 8, they were up by a similar amount.

Sales in Ireland were up over Christmas but down over the quarter as a whole while the Booker wholesale unit registered strong growth against weak comparative figures last year, when many pubs and restaurants were subject to coronavirus restrictions.

Online sales were below last year’s level but still more than 50 per cent higher than two years ago, with the company dispatching a record 1.2m orders each week.

Profits at Tesco Bank are now expected to be between £160m and £200m against an earlier forecast of “at least £120m” after bad debts came in lower than forecast.


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