Tesco beats forecasts with strong British Christmas sales

Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket chain, beat forecasts for UK sales over the key Christmas trading period, driven by lower prices, and said it was making good progress with its turnaround plan.

"There is plenty more to do, but we are making good progress and are trading in line with profit expectations for the full year," Chief Executive Dave Lewis said on Thursday.

A Tesco supermarket in Glasgow, Scotland.
Jeff J Mitchell I Getty Images
A Tesco supermarket in Glasgow, Scotland.

The firm said sales at UK stores open over a year rose 1.3 percent in the six weeks to Jan. 9.

That compared to analyst forecasts of a fall of 1-3 percent.

Tesco's UK like-for-like sales performance for the Christmas weeks also showed a big improvement on a fall of 1.5 percent, also reported on Thursday, for the 13 weeks to Nov. 28, its fiscal third quarter.

Analysts had forecast like-for-like sales down 2-3 percent for the third quarter. They had fallen 1 percent in Tesco's second quarter.