The launch of Tesco's Cherokee fashion range has helped the grocer to boost its market share by 50 per cent.
Chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said Tesco has increased its clothing market share from 2 to 3 per cent since Cherokee's debut last autumn.
The initiative was spearheaded by former Arcadia boss John Hoerner.
Leahy maintained that Tesco's clothing sales are growing at four times the rate of the market and are up 20 per cent over the past six months.
He said: 'Clothing gets mothers with kids into our stores. Cherokee is available in more than 300 stores, our Florence & Fred brand is going from strength to strength and our Value clothing lines are doing well.'
Numis food retail analyst at Mark Hughes said: 'I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the Cherokee brand has become a significant part of their clothing business. Clothing is an area in which Asda has led, but now Tesco stands a chance of competing.'
Tesco claims its non-food share now stands at 5 per cent. Half of the 130,000 sq m of new space Tesco added last year is devoted to non-food.
The grocer announced preliminary pre-tax profits up 13.3 per cent to£1.36 billion. Group sales rose 11.5 per cent to£28.6 billion.
On the subject of Safeway, Leahy said that if a financial bidder such as Philip Green was successful, any break-up of the chain should be referred to the Competition Commission.