Tesco is in bullish mood following a strong trading statement showing third quarter like-for-like sales up by 5.1%, and volumes up 4.9%. The multiple insisted that although last year's festive season would be hard to beat, its bigger non food offer this Christmas ­ on DVDs, computers and TVs ­ meant sales would remain healthy in the fourth quarter. Total sales rose 12.7% for the 14 weeks to November 18, while international sales rose 49%, driven by new store openings including 29 hypermarkets in central Europe and Asia. The chain said strong sales in non food products fuelled the better than expected sales increase. A Tesco spokesman said new net shoppers would also increase both food and non food sales in coming weeks. James Collins, retail analyst with ABN Amro, said the City did not expect sales growth to slow significantly in the near future. "Tesco have realised they've got to pick up the pace and put a bit more gloss on, which is why you're seeing more promotions such as when it's gone it's gone' offers in non-food." Collins added, however, that some quarters of the City feared that the chain's rapid international expansion, although impressive, could be at risk in Central Europe. "General problems in Turkey could have a knock-on effect on Tesco in nearby countries." {{NEWS }}

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