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Tesco: shares fall despite record Christmas trading

( - Britain's biggest retailer Tesco announced record figures for Christmas trading, citing unprecedented demand for online groceries, though it warned against additional Covid-19 costs due to the increasing severity of the pandemic since October.

Tesco said sales at UK stores that have been open over a year rose by 6.7% in the 13 weeks to 28 November, in line with analysts' forecasts.

The supermarket group said like-for-like growth accelerated to 8.1% in its UK stores in the six weeks to 9 January, its Christmas trading period.

Tesco said the strong performance was driven by food, while orders after Christmas continued to grow, as the company last week exceeded all-time records for both home deliveries and click & collect.

The retailer said the strong momentum in the business is serving to offset the additional Covid costs it expects to incur as a result of the degradation of the pandemic.

As a result, its guidance for the 2020/21 financial year remains unchanged, with the company expecting a retail operating profit at least at the same level as in 2019/20.

However, investors seemed to be disappointed by the group failing to upgrade its earnings outlook, with the Tesco share falling over 1% this morning. The stock has, however, risen by nearly 10% over the past month.

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