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    Tesco has 11.8 per cent increase in sales

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    Leading UK retailer Tesco has reported an 11.8 per cent increase in group sales for the third quarter.

    In a trading statement, the retailer said strong international revenues had driven its performance over the period, although the retailer stressed its core UK business had also made “solid progress”.

    “Overall sales growth has strengthened in the period, with international delivering a particularly strong performance, and the UK has again done well, with good growth in our core food categories,” said Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy.

    He revealed the retail group’s first grocery stores in the US had been “very well-received” by customers.

    Tesco launched its Fresh & Easy chain in California last month and has since opened additional stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix, with the group now planning further expansion.

    Meanwhile the company revealed strong sales in Asia had boosted the performance of its international operations. International sales were up 25.7 per cent at actual exchange rates and by 21.4 per cent at constant exchange rates in the 13 weeks to November 24th.

    Sales in Asia grew by 29 per cent at constant exchange rates over the period, while Tesco also reported “rapid growth” in all its central European markets.

    In the UK, where higher interest rates and the ongoing credit crunch have led to concerns about the prospects for the retail sector, Tesco’s total sales were up by 7.6 per cent over the third quarter. Like-for-like sales over the period were up by 4.8 per cent, including petrol. Excluding petrol, like-for-like sales increased by 4.1 per cent.

    The group said its non-food ranges had also performed well, aided by the launch of its online shopping and delivery service, Tesco Direct.

    It added its recently acquired garden centre chain Dobbies had also made a “good start” as part of the group.

    The retailer also confirmed it had “sufficient financing” in place to achieve planned growth.