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Tesco fiscal Q3 sales drop 0.9% on weaker international performance

Tesco PLC on Jan. 9 reported a 0.9% year-over-year drop in like-for-like sales during the fiscal third-quarter as slight growth in its domestic market was outweighed by weaker performance abroad.

Group revenue for the 19 weeks to Jan. 4 fell to £21.03 billion. Sales in the U.K. and Ireland rose 0.4% to £16.81 billion, which included a 0.4% negative impact from general merchandise as Tesco adjusted its product mix.

Sales in central Europe, where the company is overhauling its operations, fell 10.3% to £1.93 billion. Tesco, which in December said it is considering a sale of its operations in Thailand and Malaysia, reported that sales in Asia dipped 1.6% to £1.93 billion.

The company said it outperformed the market in both volume and value terms over the Christmas period and achieved "the biggest ever day of U.K. food sales" in its history. Over the six-week period, U.K. sales rose 0.1%, and sales in Ireland rose 1.9%. Revenue from its Booker wholesale unit increased 2.3%.

Tesco's online grocery business delivered over 14 million orders across the 19 weeks, with an increase in both average basket size and customer satisfaction scores for the Christmas period.

"In a subdued U.K. market we performed well, delivering our fifth consecutive Christmas of growth," said outgoing CEO Dave Lewis.

In early trading in London, Tesco's shares were up 2.07% at 256.02 pence.