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Tesco profits climb to £2.8 billion

Tesco has unveiled an 11.8% rise in pre-tax profits to £2.8 billion for the 53 weeks to February but said that clothing sales growth had slowed.

The UK's largest retailer posted an 11.1% increase in group sales to £51.8bn over the 53 week period and said it had seen a strong start to the year with like-for-like sales up 4% at its UK stores for the first five weeks of the year.

Tesco's core UK sales were up 6.7% to £37.9bn over the 53 week period and trading profit rose 7.1% to £2bn.

The numbers were buoyed by the performance of the non-food category where sales were up 8.7%. Although the retailer admitted that its clothing sales grew less rapidly over the period against previous years - by 6% in the year as a whole.

Both customer numbers and spend per visit increased at the retailer over the year and Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco chief executive, said: "The breadth of the group and the strength of our business model have enabled Tesco to deliver another year of double-digit sales, profit and earnings per share growth - in challenging market conditions. We begin the new financial year confidently - with a good start in the UK, excellent progress in our established international markets and promising early performance from our investments in future growth, particularly in the United States, China and Turkey."

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