Tesco's push into telecoms and the continued success of its online shopping operation Tesco.com have contributed to bumper half year results for the retailer.
Overall, Tesco sales for the half year ended 14 August were up 12.2 per cent to £16.5bn with pre-tax profit up 24.4 per cent to £822m. The UK business accounted for much of this with sales up 11.5 per cent to £13.1bn and operating profit up 13.3 per cent to £707m.
While a group-wide 'Step-Change' efficiency savings programme contributed to the good figures, Tesco.com and the foray into telecoms services were also bright spots.
Just last month Tesco launched its no frills unlimited broadband service in the UK for £19.97 a month, following up on launches last year of fixed-line and mobile services.
Tesco said in its results statement: "We are now very competitive in mobiles, domestic fixed line and internet access. We now have a total of 650,000 customers in telecoms, with considerable scope for growth."
Tesco continues to lead the UK retail market online and Tesco.com sales grew by 27 per cent to £307m and profits increased by 95 per cent to £15m.
"We are attracting many new shoppers and average customer spend has increased by nearly seven per cent over the last three years," the results statement said.