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Tesco records 4.3% rise in quarterly same-store sales


London Tesco PLC reported that same-store sales, excluding fuel, increased 4.3% in the quarter ended May 30, up from 3.7% in the previous quarter.

The company said its international business made a strong contribution to the increase, as international sales rose 20.1% by actual exchange rates -- 11.4% at constant exchange rates -- led by a 43.8% gain in Asia. Sales in its fledgling U.S. venture, which consists of West Coast chain Fresh & Easy, rose 174%.

Group sales rose 9.7%, including fuel, with the company’s strong showing in its international markets boosted by new stores, currency moves and the benefits of an acquisition in South Korea.

In its domestic U.K. market, where Tesco makes 70% of its revenue, sales were lower than the growth reported by other supermarket chains. While Tesco captures almost one in every three pounds spent in a British supermarket, rivals like Wal-Mart's Asda, J Sainsbury PLC and WM Morrison PLC have been gaining market share in recent years.

Laurie McIlwee, Tesco’s group finance director, said there has been a general pickup in consumer confidence, a further boost for economic recovery hopes.

"It's a bit premature to say things are improving, but the fact that nonfood sales have started to grow and sales of our finest range are up are good signs," he said.

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