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Is Tesco The Xmas Winner ?

Tesco (TSCO) enjoyed a strong Xmas and perhaps surprised many of the pundits, not to to say the opposition, with all round growth as sales rose both at home and abroad. Like for like group sales for the 6 weeks to 9th January rose by 2.1%, even UK like for like sales were up 1.3% and international led the way with a rise of 4.1%.

Home Retail Group HOME admits to a mixed performance over the 18 weeks to the 2nd January but Argos sales rose 0.9% despite reduced store footfall on the high street.  Homebase like for like sales were up by 5% but that figure is rather meaningless because total sales fell by 4% as a result of the aggressive store closure plan.

Profit before tax for the year to the end of February is expected to be at the bottom end of market expectations.

Mothercare MTC had a fairly disastrous third quarter on the international front, reflecting economic and currency headwinds for which management is in no way to blame. International sales were down 9.5% in actual currency, over the 13 weeks to the 9th January, whilst UK like for like sales rose by 4.2% following weeding out of weaker stores. UK online won the day with a rise of 11%.

Group worldwide sales fell by 5.5%, double the fall in the previous quarter. Mothercare was another store to get its weather forecasting wrong, so blames the unseasonably wamr weather for having a lot of unsold stock left over for the sales.

Associated Brtish Foods ABF saw Primark sales up by 7% over 16 weeks to 2nd January and group revenue up by 3%.

So in the end it looks like the surprise winner will have been Tesco.  It remains to be seen if Tesco can now start regaining market share and clamber its way back up to being number one.

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