Supermarket chain Tesco has posted a year-on-year sales increase of 17.5 per cent for the 14 weeks to November 15, on the back of strong growth in its clothing division.

The company has also reported a year-on-year increase in clothing sales of 34 per cent, more than six times the market rate.

Finance director Andrew Higginson said sales of the company's back-to-school range of clothing, for example, had doubled on a year ago.

Higginson added, however, that sales growth was likely to moderate in the months ahead.

"We would expect a return to more normal levels of trading in the future," he said.

In the growing supermarket clothing retail business, Tesco has captured market share from competitors Sainsbury's and Safeway through a range of clothing discount promotions, such as £4 jeans, at its UK stores.

Safeway reported half-year sales growth of just 1.2 per cent last week, while Sainsbury's' group sales were up one per cent year-on-year for the same period.