Tesco finance and strategy director Andrew Higginson said that there was inflationary pressure on some basic products, particularly wheat-based ones, but the supermarket giant’s overall inflation was less than 1 per cent for its third quarter – lower than the same period last year.
“These tales of rampant inflation, based on one or two products, are complete nonsense,” he said.
This week, the BRC reported that food inflation eased from 1.4 per cent in October to 0.7 per cent in November – although the November figure was 4.3 per cent up on the same month last year.
In the 13 weeks to November 24, Tesco’s UK sales were up 7.6 per cent and like-for-like sales jumped 4.1 per cent, excluding petrol. Total group sales increased 11.8 per cent – after rising 9.2 per cent in the first half – driven by rapid international expansion and a solid performance in non-food.
Higginson said that Tesco expected to have a “very good” Christmas, but warned that “consumers are a lot more cautious” and urged the Bank of England to cut interest rates as Retail Week went to press.