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Snow blamed for disappointing Tesco sales

Snow blamed for disappointing Tesco sales
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Britain’s Tesco missed Christmas sales forecasts and is blaming severe winter weather.

The 0.6 percent rise in underlying British sales from the world’s third-biggest retailer, fell short of rises by supermarket rivals Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s.

Tesco said that was because it was reporting over a shorter trading period and also has more out-of-town stores, which suffered worse weather disruptions.

A strong performance a year ago and pressure on consumers from higher taxes and petrol prices did not help.

“It is a combination of lapping last year, tough budgets, very severe weather and incredible petrol inflation,” Tesco’s Finance director Laurie McIlwee said.

The group, with over 5,000 stores in 14 countries, said overseas sales rose 10.1 percent excluding petrol and at constant currencies, led by strong growth in China and Thailand.

“Disappointing” was how Shore Capital analyst Clive Black described the figures. “Over the 2010/11 festive period Tesco UK has underperformed its peers,” he said, and he has cut his full-year profit forecast for the group.