Attention in the UK retail sector may be trained elsewhere at the moment, but sector leader Tesco has reported group sales up by 11.1% in the seven weeks ended 4 January.

UK sales rose 8%, while international sales climbed 24.9% in line with forecasts. The group is on target to generate earnings before interest and tax of £140-160m (US$147.6-168.7m) from its international operations in the current financial year.

Overall like-for-like sales grew by 4.8% during the period under review. Sainsbury’s reported UK sales up 1% for the 12 weeks ended 4 January, while Morrisons’ sales were up 3.4% in the six weeks ended 5 January and Safeway sales rose 4.2% in the four weeks ended 4 January, reported Reuters.

These results show the group outperformed its three closest rivals Sainsbury’s, Asda and Safeway in the key Christmas period – but how many will notice, as industry watchers wait to see what shape the retail sector will take as the takeover battle currently being waged over Safeway reaches a conclusion?