Updates from Tesco and Sainsbury's

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Two big retail beasts today. We start with Tesco. Profits slump more than 23% to £1.39bn for the first six months of the year. Britain's biggest grocer admits that sales at UK stores open more than a year, excluding fuel and VAT, saw just zero growth in the 13 weeks to 24 August.

However chief exec Philip Clarke claims Tesco is upping progress across its UK business. Separately, Tesco has announced a joint venture with China Resource Enterprises (CRE) where Tesco's 134 Chinese stores will merge with CRE's 2,986 stores. Tesco is to hold a 20% stake.

"This is very good news for customers and shareholders," says Clarke, "and a further demonstration of our commitment to build sustainable, profitable businesses, establish multichannel leadership in all of our markets and pursue disciplined international growth."

Next, a trading update from Sainsbury's. In contrast to Tesco, trading look stronger: total sales for second quarter climb 5% with like-for-like sales up 2.1% (2.0% excluding fuel) while total sales for the first half are up 4.4% (4.0% excluding fuel) and like-for-like sales up 1.5% (1.4% excluding fuel).

Sainsbury's own-brand products are growing at over twice the rate of branded goods it claims with Taste the Difference growing "particularly strongly". But general merchandise and clothing business continues to grow at over twice the rate of food, claims Sainsburys.

"Our groceries online business grew by over 15% in the quarter," says the company, "and is now worth over £1 billion in annual sales. Our convenience business grew 20% year-on-year as customers topped up more frequently during the warm summer weather."

Lastly, an update from Domino's Pizza for the 13 weeks to 29 September. Sales for the period were up 10.4% to £140.9m (2012: £127.6m) with year to date sales up by 11.1% to £437.9m (2012: £394.1m).

Despite the impact of an extended period of unusually warm weather, like-for-like sales in the period in its 669 mature stores were up by 4.0% (2012: 3.7%) with a strong end to the last two periods of the quarter, the company claims. Year to date like-for-like sales were up by 5.6% (2012: 5.1%).

Domino's online sales also continue to grow strongly, with digital sales now grabbing 62.4% of UK delivered sales (2012: 58.4%) in the period. Domino's claims it's confident of meeting City expectations for the full year.

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