• Underlying H1 pre-tax profits up 8.6%
  • Turnover climbs 9.3%
  • LFL sales growth in UK slows

Shares in Tesco, the UK's largest retailer, dipped in early trading this morning (6 October) after the company booked rising half-year profits - but slowing like-for-like sales growth.

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."

Tesco shares were down 0.7% at 388.8p at 08:51 BST this morning.

Click here for the full interim report from Tesco. Click here for Sir Terry Leahy's comments on Tesco's recent UK performance and here for its plans for China.