By Marcus Leach

Tesco have reported a rise in half-year profits despite a fall in underlying sales in the UK.

There was 'excellent growth' reported in Europe and Asia, although the UK had experienced 'subdued demand'.

Pre-tax profit was £1.9 billion, up 12.1% on a year earlier, while group sales rose 8.8% to £35.5 billion, but like-for-like UK sales excluding VAT and petrol fell 0.5%.

"I am pleased that excellent growth in Europe and Asia, as well as an encouraging performance in the United States, have supported further progress in the first half, despite the challenges of subdued demand in the UK, particularly in non-food categories," said Phillip Clarke, Chief Executive.

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