Tesco has reported a 1.2% growth in like-for-like (LFL) sales at its UK food business during the last three months.

The supermarket giant announced the news this morning (5 December), as part of its third-quarter interim management statement for the 13 weeks to 24 November.

The company revealed LFL UK sales fell 0.6% in the quarter, excluding  VAT and petrol, while group sales increased by 2.9% excluding petrol at constant exchange rates. Within Europe, Tesco experienced a 3.6% drop in LFL sales, excluding petrol.

Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco, said: “I am pleased with the performance of our food business in the UK. Our six-part plan is about improving the shopping trip for customers for the long-term and this is a positive early sign. We’ve now refreshed nearly 300 stores, upgraded or introduced well over 3,000 products and added innovations, such as Delivery Saver, to our already successful online grocery business - and there is plenty more to come in 2013.

“We have seen a further weakening in consumer spending in central Europe, although the effects of this have been partly offset by a better quarter in Asia. I am looking forward to the important seasonal period ahead, and am confident in our plans to deliver further improvements in our shopping trip for customers.”

Tesco mentioned in its latest financial results that the company had rolled out new bakery departments in 850 of its stores this year.

Tesco said the outlook in the UK, ahead of the important seasonal period and with the progress made so far on its plans to improve the shopping trip for customers, remained unchanged as a whole for the year.