Tesco shrugs off rivals as sales growth rockets

Tesco has continued to consolidate its position as the UK market leader, despite fierce price competition from the likes of Morrisons and Asda.

The number one food retailer revealed industry-beating sales growth at its AGM last week. For the 12 weeks to May 22, UK sales increased 11.1 per cent, while like-for-like sales grew 7.8 per cent, driven by volume growth of 7.7 per cent.

Tesco said in a statement that non-food had continued to perform strongly. In its recent clothing sale, it sold two and a half times more items than it did a year ago.

International sales increased 18 per cent when converted to sterling, with all countries contributing to the growth. Analysts believe that Tesco can keep up its strong performance and is not conceding any ground. In a note, Deutsche Bank said: 'Even though comparables are getting tougher, it appears that Tesco is not yet feeling any impact from Morrisons' ownership of Safeway or Sainsbury's new management team.'

Goldman Sachs analyst Nick Jones noted: 'The message is that the core food business is trading stronger in the quarter than had been the case previously, suggesting that the big pricing campaigns at Safeway and the step-up in price cutting at Sainsbury's were water off a duck's back from Tesco's point of view.'

According to the most recent TNS figures,Tesco has a 27.6 per cent share of the UK supermarket sector, 10 per cent more than its closest rival Asda.