Supermarket company Tesco has announced today (Friday) that its group  sales for the twelve weeks ending 21 May 2005 increased by 14.6%, with total UK sales for the twelve weeks ending 21st May were up 11.3%.


The company described its UK performance at "showing consistent growth in a tough market." Like-for-like sales grew by 8.8%, driven by strong volumes and a small amount of deflation. Net new stores contributed 2.5%.


Excluding petrol, like-for-like sales for the quarter increased by 6.8%, after deflation

of 1.8%.


"The whole Tesco team has worked hard to deliver a solid start to a more

challenging year," said chief executive Terry Leahy. "Our strong sales performance has put us in a good position to meet the demands of higher oil-related costs across the group, rising business rates in the UK, the initial costs of our price investment in Central Europe and a tougher market for Tesco Personal Finance."


International sales were up 19.9% at constant exchange rates and by 27.8% at actual rates, helped by strengthening currencies in many of our markets. As previously reported, like-for-like sales growth (adjusted for the timing of Easter) has improved to 5.5%, helped by a strong customer response to our price investment in Central  Europe, the company said.