Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy has hailed the "resilience" of the retailer's supply chain, as well as the "depth of [its] supplier partnerships" as key to maintaining strong levels of availability during the current supply challenges affecting the industry at present.
Group sales were up 3.0% at Tesco in the first half of its financial year (at constant exchange rates, +2.6% at actual rates).
Like-for-like sales in its UK operations were up 1.2% during the half-year period (and +8.9% compared to the same period two years ago), while Republic of Ireland was down 2.6% year-on-year and Central Europe was up 1.4%.
Specifically with regard to the UK, Tesco said that first-quarter sales were up 0.5%, boosted by a 'strong contribution from general merchandise and clothing', improving to +2.0% in the second quarter, as COVID comparatives started to ease.
With reference to current supply issues, Tesco said, 'As industry supply chains came under increasing pressure, we were able to leverage our strong supplier relationships and distribution capability to maintain good levels of availability for customers.'
The group also saw a 2.3% increase in like-for-like sales in its online operations in the UK (+74.1% compared to the same period two years ago), with the number of orders per week rising by 12.4% year-on-year.
It recently opened a second Urban Fulfilment Centre (UFC) in Lakeside in May, and plans to open a third in Bradford in January, further boosting its online capabilities. It is also expanding the trial of 'Tesco Whoosh', a 60-minute delivery service.
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'Ahead Of Expectations'
“We’ve had a strong six months; sales and profit have grown ahead of expectations, and we’ve outperformed the market," Tesco CEO Murphy commented. "This was a strong team effort and I would particularly like to recognise and thank our colleagues who continue to do an incredible job in difficult times."
"Against a backdrop of profound change, Tesco has many unique advantages. The scale and reach of our store estate and online operations are unmatched in the UK. Our ability to reward loyalty through Clubcard enhances our relationship with customers. Our world-class food retail expertise combined with our strong supplier partnerships ensures we can offer our customers great value and quality, removing reasons to shop elsewhere."
On the back of its performance in the first half, Tesco has increased its retail operating profit expectations for the financial year to between £2.5 billion and £2.6 billion.