Signs of new life at UK supermarkets

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Both Tesco and Sainsbury's have reported a quarterly rise in sales, leading to hopes that the worst could be behind the High Street.

Leading retailer Tesco posted a slight 0.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales excluding petrol. That's the first rise in seven quarters at the chain.

Pre-tax profit for the six months ending August 25th were less good, however, falling 11.6 per cent year-on-year. Tesco is in the middle of a 1bn investment programme designed to refresh its in-store offer.

Tesco's international profits were also down, tumbling 17.1 per cent. China and South Korea were named as particular problem spots, with new opening hour restrictions in the latter likely to cut 100m off the retailer's profits.

The picture was altogether rosier for Sainsbury's, whose like-for-like sales rose 1.9 per cent in the quarter ending September 29th