Tesco Plc had its smallest sales decline in two-and-a-half years as discounts on alcohol brought Britain’s biggest supermarket chain closer to returning to growth.
The grocer’s sales fell 0.2 percent in the 12 weeks ended Sept. 11, researcher Kantar Worldpanel said in its monthly report Tuesday, a less pronounced drop than that of its main U.K. rivals. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda continued to trail with a 5.4 percent slump.
The figures provide fresh evidence that Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis is starting to win back disaffected shoppers with lower prices and better service. Lewis is battling against the rapid growth of discounters Aldi and Lidl, who continue to grab customers and market share, Kantar’s data showed. Investors will be seeking confirmation of Tesco’s improving fortunes when the retailer reports first-half earnings on Oct. 5.
A summer promotion on wine, beer and spirits helped Tesco boost alcohol sales faster than any other major category, according to Fraser McKevitt, Kantar Worldpanel’s head of retail and consumer insight. Alcohol sales across the industry rose by 8.5 percent, with sales of sparkling wines up 36 percent, Kantar said.
- Tesco shares rose as much as 2.2 percent to their highest since April 26
- Aldi sales rose 11.6 percent, Lidl’s growth slowed to 9.5 percent: Kantar
- Grocery price deflation eased slightly to 1.1 percent
- J Sainsbury due to update on second-quarter sales on Sept. 28