Tesco and Morrisons have posted a decline in like-for-like Christmas sales, with the increasing importance of convenience influencing both sets of results.
Tesco announced a 2.4% sales decline in the six weeks to 4 January 2014, mitigated only by “positive like-for-like sales growth” in its Express convenience store business. “Further weakness in the grocery market as a whole continued to impact our performance in the UK,” said chief executive Philip Clarke.
Like-for-like sales at Morrisons fell by 5.6% over the same period, which it blamed on the “accelerating importance of the online and convenience channels, where Morrisons is currently under-represented”.
The grocers’ results also highlighted the continuing polarisation of the market, especially given Waitrose’s and Aldi’s positive Christmas results. Waitrose had its “most successful Christmas on record,” with like-for-like sales up 3.1% for the five-week period ending December 31, and 5.4% up on the equivalent period in 2012.
A spokesman for Aldi said the discounter had its “busiest Christmas since opening in the UK”.
“Record numbers of customers visited Aldi as they realised they could get all the festive trimmings at Aldi, while cutting the cost of Christmas and not the celebrations,” he added.