Leading UK supermarket operator Tesco cheered the stock market today [Tuesday] by reporting unexpectedly robust sales growth progress in its domestic market.

The group said underlying sales growth in the UK had improved by 3.8% in the third quarter, up from 3.4% in the previous quarter. This outstripped more modest expectations of 3.5-4% growth.

Impressive growth overseas, where Tesco has been ramping up its operations over the last five years, further lifted overall group sales growth to 10.5%. Tesco operates in ten foreign markets.

All retail market eyes are firmly trained on the big supermarkets as they gear up for the critical Christmas trading season. Sainsbury has been extending its non-food range in a bid to bag a greater share of the Christmas present spend, while Safeway recently trimmed prices to boost its appeal, reported Reuters.