Despite the current “credit crunch”, Tesco has announced that it made a pre-tax profit of £1,453m during the first half of the 2008/09 financial year, up 10.3% on the equivalent period last year.

The firm’s interim results for the 26 weeks ended 23 August, showed that Group sales (including VAT) increased by 14.1% to £28.1bn and operating profit rose by 13.1% to £1,480m.

Analysis of the interim results for the UK alone, show core sales increased by 9.7% to £20.1bn (6.9% excluding petrol), comprising growth from like-for-like stores of 6.7% and 3.0% from net new stores.

UK trading profit rose 8.6% to £1,081m. Food sales remained “solid” during the first half of the year, despite pressure on household budgets, while non-food growth slowed, but remained positive at 4%.

Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy, said the supermarket was “at its best” in tough markets, which was why it had been able to make good progress, despite the ongoing economic problems and planned start-up losses in the US.

“Our business is strong, broadly-based, increasingly international and, I believe, well-placed not just to cope with the challenges which lie ahead but also to grasp the growth opportunities open to us by continuing to invest in our strategy,” he said.