January 9, 2014 / 7:11 AM / 4 years ago

Tesco's UK sales fall in Christmas period

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Tesco, the world's third biggest retailer, posted another heavy drop in underlying sales in its main British market in the Christmas trading period, adding to pressure on management to end a run of poor results.

The firm, which trails France's Carrefour and U.S. No. 1 Wal-Mart in annual sales, is 21 months into a turnaround plan for its main UK business that has seen over 1 billion pounds invested in store revamps, more staff, new product ranges and pricing initiatives.

It said on Thursday sales at British stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, fell 2.4 percent in the six weeks to Jan. 4.

That compares to analyst forecasts in a range of down 0.5-2.5 percent and a third quarter decline of 1.5 percent.

Tesco said it expected to report full year results within the range of current market expectations.

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