Tesco has released its first quarter interim management statement where it said that while Ireland remains intensely competitive with high levels of untargeted couponing in the market, its performance here is starting to improve.

However, Tesco remains the largest retailer in the Irish market, with over 25% of the market share. The retailer also showed that it posted the worst quarterly drop in underlying sales in its key home market, the UK, since Chief Executive Phil Clarke took the helm in 2011..

Tesco said that sales at UK stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, fell 3.8% in its fiscal first quarter, due to price cuts and a weak food market.

“We are pleased by the early response to our accelerated efforts to deliver the most compelling offer for customers,” said the firm. “We expect this acceleration to continue to impact our headline performance throughout the coming quarters and for trading conditions to remain challenging for the UK grocery market as a whole,” it added.

Tesco also reported that its first quarter sales fell 0.9% at constant rates, excluding petrol.