Tesco expected to report sales

Tesco will report on its sales figures this week
Tesco will report on its sales figures this week

A TRADING update from retail giant Tesco will shine the spotlight on the supermarket sector this week ahead of the all-important Christmas season.

Tesco is expected to report sales slipping back into the red in its third quarter as rivals turn up the heat on the UK’s biggest supermarket chain.

The grocery giant gave hope of better trading last month when it said like-for-like sales had edged 0.1 per cent higher in its second quarter, following six quarters in a row of falling sales.

But analysts are forecasting Wednesday’s update to show a return to sales declines as general merchandise continues to take a hit.

Fierce competition between the major players has seen Tesco lose market share in recent months, with smaller rival Sainsbury’s in particular piling on the pressure.

Tesco reported its first drop in UK profits for two decades last month when half-year figures revealed a 12 per cent fall to £1.1 billion.

Recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed Tesco’s market share slipping from 31 per cent to 30.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to October 28.

A resurgent Sainsbury’s saw its market share rise to 16.8 per cent as it benefited from its Paralympics sponsorship and investment in cheaper own-brand products.