Food and clothing retailer Woolworths has announced that preliminary group sales increased 9.8% year on year for the 26 weeks to December 26.

This compares with sector growth of 5.9% during the same period. Clothing sales grew by 11.5%, 2.3 percentage points higher than the average in comparable stores (9.2%).

The retailer has also appointed former M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose as a non-executive director.