Tesco has posted stronger results than expected over the past year, notching up double-digit growth in both profits and sales.

Pre-tax profits were up by 10% to a record £3.138bn, while group sales rose 15.1% to £59.4bn.

In the UK, like-for-like sales excluding petrol grew by 3% and retail sales increased by 9.1% during the year to 28 February. UK non-food sales rose 5% to £8.7bn.

International sales rose 13.6% on a constant currency basis during the period, with Tesco pointing to strong sales by its Asian business as a major factor in the performance.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said the UK’s largest retailer was responding to consumers’ changing needs during the economic slump by lowering prices, introducing more affordable products and offering even sharper promotions.

“These actions, combined with our core strengths – in selling food and everyday essentials, owning our own property and having a broad business base – are helping us to cope well with the effects of the downturn,” Leahy said in a statement.

“We are also pleased with the early performance of Tesco Personal Finance under our ownership and with the converted Homever stores in Korea.”

Leahy added that Tesco had made a promising start to the new financial year and said he was confident the group would continue to make good progress despite the economic gloom.

See Saturday's edition of The Grocer for full details and analysis.