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By NBF News
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LONDON :Tesco Plc, the world's Number three retailer, said overseas markets drove a 7.2 per cent rise in third-quarter sales and it was seeing a pick-up in demand in its main British market heading into peak Christmas trading, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

The company's Finance Director, Mr. Laurie McIlwee said on Tuesday that United Kingdom trading had been ahead of the supermarket group's expectations in recent weeks, led by sales of Microsoft Corporation's 'Kinect' gaming platform and copies of the dress worn by Kate Middleton on the day of her engagement to Prince William.

He said, 'It is hard to call what the fourth quarter's actually going to be, but I would say it is going to be an improvement quarter-on-quarter in terms of like-for-like (sales).

'We still feel there is good growth in the UK,' he added.

International retailers like Tesco are benefiting from a global economic recovery led by Asia. But chains in Britain, where Tesco makes about two-thirds of sales and profits, are worried tax hikes and public spending cuts aimed at reining in government debt could hit demand in the months ahead.

An industry survey on Tuesday showed British retail sales growth slowed in November.

Tesco, which accounts for about one in every seven pounds spent at British retailers, said sales at UK stores open more than a year rose by 1.5 per cent, excluding fuel and including VAT sales tax, in the 13 weeks to November 27.

Growth had picked up to three per cent by the end of the third quarter, despite a lower contribution from rising food prices compared with the second quarter, McIlwee said.