Data strategy fuels Tesco boom

Tesco’s resurgent data strategy has helped the retailer post its strongest Christmas results for three years, driven by strong online sales and a recovery of in-store food sales.
In a move which analysts claim shows that its £1bn turnaround plan – spearheaded by DunnHumby – is paying dividends, Britain’s largest supermarket chain posted a 1.8% rise in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 5.
Tesco, which also confirmed the appointment of Chris Bush as managing director to run its key British business, said the strongest rate of growth for three years was driven by a “much stronger” food performance than the previous year.
Online was also a key driver for the supermarket, which recorded its biggest ever week for Internet sales, with Tesco Direct sales up by more than 16%. It is believed that the timing of the Clubcard voucher mailings, as well as online campaigns to card-holders, played a key role in the rise. The supermarket sent its 10 million most loyal Clubcard customers personalised deals rather than the blanket Double Points promotion that had run in 2011.
Last April, chief executive Philip Clarke admitted the need for “fundamental change” as the company committed £1bn to turn around its ailing UK business, after seeing its first fall in UK profits in 20 years.
In today’s results, Tesco said most of the six-point plan’s efforts had been focused on food, and in particular fresh food, “so this performance provides further encouragement that the delivery of the plan is on track”.
Clarke said: “We are just nine months into the implementation of our six-part plan, which is about Building a Better Tesco in the UK for the long-term.
“Whilst our seasonal performance is encouraging, there is a lot more to do and the team is focused on delivering further improvements for customers in 2013.”

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