StockMarketWire.com - Supermarket giant Tesco lifted its profit guidance for the year, driven by a rising sales in the third quarter and the key Christmas period.

As a result of stronger than expected sales to date, the company said it now expect retail operating profit slightly above the top-end of our previous £2.5 billion to £2.6 billion guidance range.

Like-for-like retail sales in the third quarter were up 2.4%, while Christmas sales increased 3.2%, taking the total sales growth for the 19 weeks through 8 January to 2.6%.

Sales in its banking division were up 33%, and the company said operating profit for the division was now expected to be between £160 million and £200 million.

The company also said it had seen its highest market share in the UK in four years.

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