Tesco (5) Image: Tesco

John Ibbotson, director of retail consultancy Retail Vision, said: "Its [Tesco] rate of growth is still paltry compared to that of Sainsbury's and the discounters, and the future promises low profits and slow sales growth. But given the huge challenges Tesco faces, this performance looks little short of visionary."

Since Dave Lewis took charge in 2014, he has focused on cutting prices to stay competitive with the rest of the 'Big Four' and budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl, putting more staff in stores and shoring up its balance sheet. In September last year, Tesco sold its South Korean business, Homeplus, for around £4bn. And widespread reports this week have suggested that Tesco is preparing to sell a number of its other small businesses to focus on its core market.