Woolworths has announced in a preliminary statement that sales rose 9.3% in the 26 weeks to the end of 2009, increasing 4.4% on a like-for-like basis.

Clothing and general merchandise sales grew 9.7%, while food achieved 8.9% growth.

Less upmarket competitor Shoprite reported like-for-like sales growth of 6.4% for its first half to December.

Woolworths will report detailed first-half results on February 18.