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UK supermarkets announced mixed performances over the Christmas and New Year period, with both Tesco and Sainsbury's reporting a rise in profits, but Morrisons and Marks and Spencer announced sales were down for 2012.
Tesco reported its strongest growth in UK Christmas sales for three years. The country's biggest retailer reported that sales excluding new store openings, VAT and petrol grew 1.8% in the six weeks to 5 January, compared with the same period last year.
It said food sales had been particularly strong, with customers responding to "a much stronger seasonal offering". Tesco also said its online food sales were up 18%.
Likewise, Sainsbury's announced a 0.9% rise in sales, although it covered a longer, 14 week period to 5 January.
Sainsbury's said the week before Christmas was its strongest on record. It saw customer transactions exceed 27 million during those seven days.
Sales were however not looking so strong for Morrison's and Marks and Spencer, with both retailers announcing a drop in performance over the normally lucrative Christmas period.
Morrisons reported a "disappointing" 2.5% fall in sales for the six weeks to 30 December. Morrisons said the figures showed it needed to improve its promotions.
It also said that they showed the importance of online shopping, which Morrisons does not offer.
While, Marks & Spencer's like-for-like sales were down 1.8% in the 13 weeks to 29 December, although food sales rose 0.3%. General merchandise also dropped by 3.8%.
For more information on the UK supermarket industry, see the latest research: UK Supermarket Industry
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