Tesco sales hit by snow chaos

Tesco posted a 6.2 per cent rise in Christmas sales as strong growth in its overseas markets helped offset a weaker than expected performance in its main British market.

The supermarket group, which accounts for about one in every seven pounds spent at British retailers, said on sales at UK stores open over a year rose 0.6 per cent excluding fuel, but including VAT sales tax, in the six weeks to 8 January

Tesco, with over 5,000 stores in 14 countries, said international sales rose 10.1 per cent at constant exchange rates and excluding petrol.

Chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, said: "Our performance remains solid but was hindered in the run up to the important Christmas trading period in the UK by the disruptive effects of the severe winter weather conditions."

Some British grocers have fared better than many specialist retailers this Christmas as a trend as customers hit by the snow tended to do their whole Christmas shop in one go.

Rival Sainsbury this week reported a better than expected 3.6 per cent rise in underlying sales during the 14 weeks to 18 January.