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Non-food sales slow at Tesco

Tesco saw non-food like-for-like sales fall during the third quarter, but total sales at the supermarket grew 11.7%.

UK sales at Tesco rose by 5.9% for the 13 weeks to November 22, with like-for-like sales excluding petrol up by 2%, slightly above analysts' expectations.

But Tesco said that slower non-food sales had held back overall growth and that they showed a "small decline" on a like-for-like basis.

International sales at Tesco rose 28.1%, with strong performances in Asia, where sales grew by 29.4%.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said: "Tesco has maintained solid progress in sales and profits during the third quarter across the group. We are pleased with our progress but we are also realistic – the current economic climate, and the strain this is putting on consumers everywhere, is something that all businesses are feeling, including ours."

Leahy added: "The UK has again done well – with 300,000 more customers a week and improving volume growth in our core food categories, driven by the early success of our new 'Discounter' products and related changes – and with non-food sales holding steady. We are adjusting the business to meet the new challenges - focusing on becoming even cheaper for customers."

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