Tesco shares slide as Christmas sales disappoint

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by Laura Matovina

LONDON (AP) -- Shares in Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer by sales, slumped after the group reported a worse-than-expected drop in sales over the crucial Christmas trading period.

Tesco PLC, which has 2,700 stores in Britain, said the 2.3 percent decline in like-for-like sales excluding the government's national sales tax and petrol sales in the six weeks to January 7 was below its expectations and "disappointing".

The decline was bigger than the 0.8 percent drop consensus in the markets.

The reaction to Thursday's update was savage and Tesco shares slid around 10 percent at 3.47 pounds ($5.30) soon after the open in London.

Earlier this week, research figures revealed Tesco's market share for the 12 weeks ending on Christmas Day dropped from 30.5 percent a year ago to 30.1 percent.

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