M&S clothing sales slightly better than expected in…

Overall sales were down 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30 better than the City had feared but appreciably worse than competitors such as Tesco and Sainsbury

This was the best festive sales uplift for Tesco since 2010.

Tesco's shares fell by 3.5 percent this morning despite the company stating that it had "outperformed" over the Christmas period.

It said own brand food ranges had performed strongly but general merchandise sales dragged like-for-like sales down by 0.6 percentage points over the Christmas period.

He said that more customers did their Christmas shopping with Tesco than in the previous year, while the retailer's customer satisfaction scores in Ireland also improved. It said total United Kingdom sales were more than 15% year-on-year during December.

Over the wider 19 week period to 6 January 2018 - which includes Tesco's third quarter - United Kingdom sales rose 2.2%.

However, analysts had expected a rise of between 2.4 and 3.2 percent.

Tesco, which has a 28 percent share of the British grocery market, reported a 1.9 percent rise in like-for-like revenue in the six weeks to January 6.

The group, which reset its strategy in November two months after Archie Norman joined as chairman, said clothing and homeware like-for-like sales fell 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30th, its fiscal third quarter. It had passed on less inflation to date than its competitors, it claimed.

M&S had held its full price stance, when others were cutting theirs, Rowe said, adding: "We said we wouldn't discount, we've stuck to that, and I think that's the right thing to do".

"However, the impact of an unseasonal October resulted in an overall revenue decline", said Mr Rowe.

Underwhelming Christmas updates at retailers Tesco and Marks and Spencer weighed on the UK's top share index on Thursday but failed to prevent it from hitting a new high, with strong metal and oil prices supporting mining and energy stocks. For Tesco, shares of which were also dented by weak merchandise sales, there's no question it remains in good enough shape to absorb such disappointments. It insisted both divisions saw better trading in the key Christmas weeks.

Recruitment firm Hays climbed nearly 3 percent on posting double-digit growth in Q2 net fees.

Dave Lewis, Tesco's Chief Executive, commented: "We have continued to outperform the market throughout this period, particularly in fresh food, thanks to our most competitive offer for many years".

However, group tobacco sales declined by 2.6 per cent with tobacco like-for-likes down 2.1 per cent and as a result, total sales were up 3.4 per cent and like-for-likes were up 3.8 per cent.

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