Tesco, Sainsbury's and M&S lack Christmas lustre with ailing sales

Tesco, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer are expected to report faltering Christmas sales later this week, while Tesco boss Dave Lewis will use a trading statement to divulge plans to cut costs and sell off assets.

UK supermarkets: the Big Four expect to report lacklustre Christmas sales
UK supermarkets: the Big Four expect to report lacklustre Christmas sales

According to a report in The Telegraph, analysts at Tesco house broker Deutsche Bank have forecast that the supermarket will report a 5% drop in five-week sales for the three months to the end of November, and a 4.3% fall for the period since then, which includes Christmas.

Sainsbury’s is predicted to announce a 1.8% drop in like-for-like sales for the Christmas period, according to analysts at Bernstein, and while M&S is understood to have enjoyed a successful festive period for food, it is understood that it will announce that general merchandise sales fell 3% over the last quarter.

The supermarkets’ lacklustre performances are in no small part due to the erosion of their market share through the growing popularity of German discounters Aldi and Lidl, while M&S continues to struggle with its clothing business.

Tesco’s Lewis is expected to use Thursday’s trading statement to outline plans to raise money through cost-cutting measures that will be used to fund price cuts and bolster its balance sheet.

Part of the cost-cutting drive is understood to include reducing Tesco’s office base, which currently stands at 23 offices across the UK. Speculation is also rife that Tesco will sell film service Blinkbox and part or all of Clubcard operator Dunnhumby.

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