Tesco has posted group a trading profit of GBP1.25bn (US$2.55bn) for the first six months of its fiscal year, up 10.1% on the year-ago period.

The UK's largest retailer said that group sales had jumped 9.2% for the 26 weeks ended 25 August 2007.

The company said that clothing sales during the interim period were subdued, with the market affected by unseasonal weather and widespread markdown activity.

However, Tesco added that clothing brands Cherokee and Florence & Fred had performed well and that sales of its autumn clothing ranges have made a strong start.

just-style reported last month that California-based brand marketer and licensor Cherokee saw sales at Tesco stores increase by 24.5% during the second quarter period.

Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy said the retailer delivered a strong first half "despite the challenges posed by the start-up investment required to establish our new US and Direct businesses and by the effects of poor summer weather in the UK.

"We ended the first half strongly with good sales momentum and with the launch of our Fresh & Easy stores on the West Coast of the US now just a few weeks away, I am confident we will make further progress in the second half."