Tesco has smashed through the £1bn half-year profit barrier, reporting a 10.3% increase in interim pre-tax profit to £1.092bn.

Releasing its results for the 26 weeks to 26 August this morning, the supermarket giant said that group sales had increased 12.7% to £22.7bn.

In the UK, sales were up 10.2% to £17.4bn, with like-for-like sales up 5.5% excluding petrol. For the second-quarter, like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, increased 6.6%.

In non-food, sales increased to £3.5bn, with UK non-food sales alone increasing 12.6%. Tesco added that, although it was early days, its home shopping catalogue Tesco Direct, launched last month, was performing well with one million hits to the website in the first three weeks of the service.

Internationally, Tesco said that sales had increased 21.3% to £5.3bn with like-for-like sales up 2.2%. However, in Hungary, it said that like-for-like sales had reduced and profit performance was below budget.

For its entry into the US convenience market next year, Tesco confirmed that it had acquired a distribution centre in Riverside, Los Angeles, as well as a number of store sites.

Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, said: “Tesco is continuing to deliver strong progress across the group - with all four parts of our strategy contributing - as more customers vote with their feet and shop with us.”

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