Leading UK retailer Tesco said today (6 October) that its clothing sales grew 6% during the first half of the year, contributing to profit gains during the period.

Tesco said clothing sales were bolstered by a successful back-to-school campaign. The company also launched an online clothing site last week to push sales of familiar Tesco labels - such as Cherokee and F&F - together with other brands.

"The online range will offer customers a wider choice overall with more of a focus on fashionable, higher-value lines and will make our clothing more accessible to customers who do not live near to one of our larger stores," the company said today.

Total group non-food sales rose 8% to GBP6.2bn, with GBP4.3bn in the UK and 1.9bn in International during the period.

Tesco, which is also the world's the number three retailer behind Wal-Mart and Carrefour, posted an 8.6% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to GBP1.57bn for the six months to 29 August.

Sales rose 9.3% to GBP27.8bn; like-for-like sales were up 3.7%. However, Tesco's like-for-like sales growth in the second quarter reached 3.1% - against growth of 4.3% in the first quarter of the year.

Nevertheless, Tesco said its like-for-like sales in the UK had "converged" with the rest of the industry.

Meanwhile, CEO Sir Terry Leahy insisted Tesco was "well placed for the global recovery".

"Last year's acquisitions - Homever in Korea and Tesco Bank - are already making good contributions to sales and profits," Sir Terry said.

"In [our] international [operations], the markets with the greatest growth potential for the long-term have been some of the hardest hit in the short-term but we have nevertheless delivered a good performance against strong headwinds. Our UK business is delivering solid growth and improving volumes."