London: British supermarket giant Tesco announced yesterday that its first-quarter sales jumped eight per cent, boosted by rocketing online purchases as people switched to grocery deliveries during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Total sales excluding petrol surged to £13.4 billion ($16.6bn) during the company’s first quarter – the 13 weeks to end-May – compared with a year earlier.
Britain’s biggest retailer said in a trading update that customers shopped less often but purchased more goods.
The bumper performance came after the government imposed a lockdown on March 23 in a bid to halt the Covid-19 outbreak. Restrictions began to be eased this month.
Online sales soared by a staggering 48.5pc in the reporting period as the company ramped up its delivery capability to cope with booming demand from customers staying at home.
The online business saw sales zoom by more than 90pc in May alone, the company added.
“Through a very challenging period for everyone, Tesco colleagues have gone above and beyond, and I’m extremely proud of what they’ve achieved,” said chief executive Dave Lewis.
The results marked the final update fronted by Lewis, who is leaving for personal reasons and will be replaced by Walgreens Boots Alliance executive Ken Murphy in September.
“We doubled our online capacity to help support our most vulnerable customers and transformed our stores with extensive social distancing measures so that everyone who was able to shop in store could do so safely,” Lewis noted.