Leading UK supermarket Tesco has announced a rise in group sales of 13.9% in the third quarter.

“The core UK business has delivered another strong performance against tougher comparatives; in non-food, sales and market share have increased; our international operations have made good progress and our retailing services businesses have continued to attract new customers,” Tesco said in a statement to the financial markets.

UK sales grew by 11.6% in the 14 weeks to 19 November 2005, with like-for-like growth of 7.9% and 3.7% from net new stores. Like-for-like sales growth in the quarter, excluding petrol, was 5.5%. Inflation overall was 0.5% but excluding petrol, our stores saw deflation of 1.6% as we invested in lowering prices for customers. Non-food sales continued to see double-digit sales growth in the period.

International sales in the third quarter increased by 23.3% at actual exchange rates and by 16.0% at constant rates. We are on track to open almost 150 stores with a total of nearly 3.5 million square feet of sales area in International during the second half this year, representing our largest ever opening programme overseas. We have opened 25 stores in eight countries in the last four weeks alone, including our first store in Guangzhou, southern China.