Tesco Plc, the UK's biggest supermarket group, yesterday (4 December) shrugged off fears of an economic slowdown as it reported further growth in sales, helped by a strong performance in its non-food ranges.

The retail giant said group sales in the 13 weeks to 24 November rose 11.8%, up from 9.2% in the first half, as its non-food products, including clothing and beauty products, performed well.
Total UK sales rose by 7.6%, or 4.1% on a like-for-like basis. The company's rapidly expanding international operations delivered a 25.7% jump in sales.

Chief executive, Terry Leahy, said Tesco "maintained pleasing progress during the third quarter.

"Overall sales growth has strengthened in the period, with International delivering a particularly strong performance, and the UK has again done well.

Tesco, which runs more than 3,200 stores across the world, bucked figures released by the British Retail Consortium, which showed that sales last month rose by 1.2% - half the average seen across the year so far.

The results are also in contrast to its half-year results, when the company pointed to subdued clothing sales during the interim period, with the market affected by unseasonal weather and widespread markdown activity.

Tesco, whose clothing brands include Cherokee and Florence & Fred holds just over 10% of the GBP8.5bn value clothing market.

However, in October Verdict Research warned of a slowdown in the sector as low prices are no longer the sole preserve of value chains.