Tesco has reported a rise in first-half profits and sales as it made progress against its strategic objectives.

Tesco, which merged with wholesaler Booker in March, generated a 2.2% rise in first-half group pre-tax profits to £564m. Sales rose 12.5% to £28.3bn in the period.

At Tesco’s core UK and Ireland business, like for likes advanced 3.8% in the half. They rose 3.5% in the first quarter and 4.2% in the second.

At the Tesco division, UK like for likes rose 2.3% in the half, while at Booker they climbed 14.7%.

Tesco said that through improving its mix across geographies, channels and product, and a focus on sustainable general merchandise categories by closing Tesco Direct, it is on track to achieve a margin of between 3.5% and 4% by 2019/20.

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “We have made a good start to the year. The step up in quarter two is driven mainly by the UK and Republic of Ireland and delivers our eleventh consecutive quarter of growth.

“At the same time, we have made further strategic progress. We completed our merger with Booker and are delighted with performance so far. We announced a strategic alliance with Carrefour in July, which goes live this month.

“And we are now more than halfway through the biggest own-brand relaunch in our history, including a significant investment in over 300 new ‘Exclusively at Tesco’ products at market-leading prices.

“We are firmly on track to deliver our medium-term ambitions and are continuing to improve the quality and value of our offer for customers in all of our markets. In doing so, we are well-positioned to deliver strong, sustainable returns for shareholders.”

Analysis: Tesco on the up even if its share price isn't