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Dow Jones Newswires: Tesco backs forecasts after strong Christmas sales

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By Michael Susin

Tesco PLC on Thursday backed its adjusted operating profit expectations for fiscal 2023, following a robust performance during Christmas, mainly driven by Central Europe.

The U.K. grocer said it currently expects adjusted operating profit–which strips out exceptional and other one-off items–for fiscal 2023 to be in the range of 2.4 billion to 2.6 billion pounds ($2.92 billion to $3.16 billion).

It also expects retail free cash flow of at least GBP1.8 billion.

Like-for-like retail sales rose 6.4% on year in the 19 weeks ended Jan. 7. They rose 5.7% in the third quarter and 7.9% over the Christmas period.

In the U.K., Tesco’s like-for-like sales rose 5.3% in the 19-week period, while in Central Europe they increased 10.9%. During the Christmas period, sales rose 7.2% in the U.K., and 8.7% in Central Europe.

The company said Central Europe had a robust growth throughout the entire period despite inflationary pressures.

“I am confident we can continue to maintain our competitiveness and deliver a strong performance relative to the market despite the challenging conditions ahead,” Chief Executive Ken Murphy said.

Write to Michael Susin at michael.susin@wsj.com

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