UK retail giant Tesco has reported strong first-quarter sales growth and said its UK sales growth outperformed the rest of the industry.

Group sales for the twelve weeks to 22 May 2004 rose 12.3% compared to the year-ago quarter. Tesco said total UK sales for the twelve-week period were up 11.1%, “significantly ahead of the industry”. Like-for-like sales were up 7.8%, driven by strong volumes of 7.7%.

International sales were up 24% in the first quarter in local currencies. Tesco said the currency impact due to the strong pound resulted in sterling sales being up 18%, in line with the company’s plans.

“All countries contributed to this growth despite some continued tough trading conditions,” Tesco said.

“I am particularly pleased that our core UK food business has continued to grow market share and to perform very strongly in the first quarter,” added chief executive Terry Leahy.