Tesco has urged the Bank of England to cut interest rates in a bid to revive consumer confidence in the run-up to Christmas.

Britain's biggest retailer said it was time for the Bank of England to send worried shoppers a signal by reducing the cost of borrowing following signs that consumers were becoming more cautious.

“The problem is not inflation but consumer sentiment,” said group finance director Andrew Higginson. “It is important that the Bank of England starts to show interest rates are coming down.”

“We have a fundamentally different view of the risks of inflation than the Bank of England. The next move on interest rates has to be down, and soon.”

The supermarket made the call despite recording solid third quarter growth, with group sales up 11.8%. It said it had taken market share in the grocery sector from every UK competitor except Waitrose in the past three months.