UK retailer Tesco reported an increase in underlying UK sales today (10 January) as it named Chris Bush as head of its domestic operations.

UK like-for-like sales, excluding both VAT and petrol, grew by 1.8% in the six weeks to 5 January. The increase was driven by a “much stronger” food performance than last year and a “further improvement” from the third quarter.

“Most of our efforts to date under our six-part plan to Build a Better Tesco in the UK have focused on food – and particularly fresh food – so this performance provides further encouragement that the delivery of the plan is on track,” the retailer said.

Total UK sales grew by 4.2% including petrol and 4.3% excluding petrol. Chris Bush was also confirmed as the retailer’s new UK managing director.

Internationally, European sales declined by 0.6%, while in Asia, Tesco pointed to an improvement in like-for-like sales growth and total sales growth of 7.6%.

In the US, total sales for Fresh & Easy were up by 4.1%. The retailer said it will update on its strategic review of the unit at its preliminary results in April.

Group sales in the period increased by 3.8% including petrol and 3.9% excluding petrol.