Tesco delivers bumper sales as shoppers move online

Tesco sales have surged over the past three months, after rapidly expanding its online business amid increased demand for grocery deliveries in the face of coronavirus.

The supermarket group said group sales jumped by 8% to £13.4 billion in the three months to May.

It said this was particularly driven by a 48.5% jump in UK online sales for the period, with online sales soaring by more than 90% in May.

Tesco said it doubled its online capacity over a five-week period to help support vulnerable customers unable to go to its stores due to the outbreak.

Dave Lewis
Chief executive Dave Lewis is set to leave the supermarket group at the end of September (Joe Giddens/PA)

The figures came during the final update by current chief executive Dave Lewis, who will be replaced by Ken Murphy at the end of September.

Mr Lewis has driven a major turnaround at the grocer following an accounting scandal in 2014.

He sold off numerous international arms of the group and co-ordinated the acquisition of wholesaler Booker during his tenure.

The Booker business reported “strong” retail sales growth of 23.5% over the past quarter, but this was offset by a significant decline in its catering arm.

Dave Lewis said: “Through a very challenging period for everyone, Tesco colleagues have gone above and beyond, and I’m extremely proud of what they’ve achieved.

“Their selfless efforts, combined with our embedded strategic advantages in stores and online, have helped to ensure that everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment.

“The costs of doing this have been significant and only partly offset by business rates relief and increased volume.

“We see the balance as an investment in supporting our customers at a time when they need it most.”

Last week, Tesco sold its entire Polish supermarket division for £181 million in its latest disposal under Mr Lewis.

The update also came ahead of the company’s annual general meeting, where it is expected to face a shareholder revolt over its pay rules and plan to hand the outgoing chief a £6.4 million pay deal.

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