Giant rides the retail downturn
Supermarket group Tesco has unveiled a strong rise in sales, despite operating in a 'slowing market'.

UK like-for-like sales growth for the third quarter, excluding petrol, was 5.5 per cent and sales across the group rose 13.9 per cent during the 14 weeks to November 19, bolstered by a 23.3 per cent leap in international sales.

'The core UK business has delivered another strong performance against tougher comparatives,' the retailer said.

The grocer has increased its market share in non-food and reported 'good progress' with its overseas operations.

Numis analyst Steve Davies noted: 'Investors have got worried that its increasing exposure to non-food makes it more vulnerable to a consumer slowdown. However, the key point is that Tesco is taking market share off other people rather than relying on growth in the market.' He added that Tesco has a 'stronger pipeline of new stores and store extensions than any other supermarket'.

The UK's leading retailer said it was on track to open 150 stores abroad in the second half.

Tesco will post its next trading update, covering the Christmas trading period, on January 17.