Group sales at the UK’s largest retailer rose 12.6 per cent for the 13 weeks to May 30.

The supermarket chain’s UK sales rose 4.3 per cent like-for-like, with an additional 2.8 per cent coming from new stores and Tesco Personal Finance adding a further 2.2 per cent, bringing total UK growth to 9.3 per cent.

The retailer said that non-food grew steadily during the period, singling out electricals, homewares, horticulture, stationery and toys as particularly strong performers.

Overseas, the growth story continued with international sales rising 20.1 per cent at actual exchange rates (11.4 per cent at constant rates). Asia proved an eastern star with a 43.8 per cent rise in sales, helped by an “excellent” performance from the converted Homever stores in Korea, according to the grocer. Sales at Tesco’s Fresh & Easy business in the US rocketed 174 per cent.

The market received the news with modest enthusiasm as shares rose by 1 per cent in early trading. However, some commentators remained sceptical. Pali International analyst Nick Bubb said: “Everyone’s doing a bit better at the moment, whether it’s Morrisons, Asda or Sainsbury’s and, compared to them, Tesco still lags.”

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said: “We are keeping a strong focus through the downturn on our long-term strategic objectives and I am encouraged by the impetus last year’s acquisitions – of Tesco Personal Finance and Homever in South Korea – are now giving the group.”