Food

Ka-ching! British supermarket giant Tesco logs record Christmas as virus sparks online boom

Supermarket giant Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, on Thursday reported record Christmas sales, with online demand booming due to virus lockdown restrictions.

Total sales jumped seven percent to £19.9 billion ($27.2 billion, 22.3 billion euros) in the 19 weeks to January 9, compared with a year earlier, Tesco said in a trading update.

The reporting period includes the third quarter of the company’s financial year, which runs to the end of November, plus the six weeks covering Christmas.

Online sales rocketed by more than 80 percent to add almost £1.0 billion to the total, as customers opted for home deliveries and store collection services.

Tesco meanwhile absorbed £810 million in virus-related costs in 2020 as a result of employee absences, the hiring of 35,000 temporary staff, online investment, and the rollout of new health and safety measures.

“Our focus on looking after our customers, including delivering record availability, robust safety measures and great value has enabled us to maintain strong momentum through the Christmas period, outperforming the market every week,” Chief Executive Ken Murphy said.

“We delivered a record Christmas across all of our formats and channels.

“We’re now supporting 786,000 vulnerable customers with priority access to online slots and, as lockdown measures continue, we’ll keep doing everything we can to ensure everyone can safely get the food and essentials they need.”

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© Agence France-Presse

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