Supermarkets forecast strong profits after sales soar at Christmas

Tesco and Marks & Spencer are both predicting a strong year ahead after sales soared at the end of 2021. Ken Murphy, chief executive of Tesco, and Steve Rowe, his counterpart at M&S, have both said they are in a strong trading position.

Despite M&S facing rising costs and ongoing supply chain disruption and coronavirus issues, Mr Rowe is confident that his turnaround efforts are bearing fruit.

He said: “I remain encouraged that our transformation plan is now driving improved performance.”

M&S reported strong trading in the third quarter. It said that UK sales for the period were £2.99billion, an 18.6 percent increase on the previous year and 8.9 percent above 2019 levels.

Clothing and home sales had the biggest performance bounce, up 37.7 percent on 2020, while food grew at 10 percent.

Tesco said that its December sales were up 3.2 percent compared with the previous year, when its sales surged as people commiserated at home in lockdown.

It said that its third-quarter sales ‑ which cover September to November ‑ were up 2.4 percent versus 2020 levels and 7.9 percent on 2019. 

Mr Murphy attributed its better-than-expected sales to a combination of price cuts and people treating themselves to upmarket food, drink and clothes over the festive period.

He said: “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.”

Elsewhere, Poundland owner Pepco said that its first-quarter revenues were up 12 percent year on year.

Poundland’s like-for-like sales grew 1.5 percent, which it said reflected improved ranges, new pricing and selling chilled and frozen foods in more stores.

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