Tesco has announced “very strong” sales in its third quarter, which included the Christmas period, representing the grocery multiple’s best UK festive performance in almost a decade.

Its third quarter trading statement revealed a 2.2% rise in like-for-like sales over a six-week period ending 5 January, outperforming the market in food, clothing and general merchandise.

Overall like-for-likes sales across its core UK and Irish markets grew 2.6%, with sales at wholesaler Booker up 6.7% over the six-week period.

Over a 19 week period to 5 January, the grocery multiple saw like-for-like sales grow 1.2% in the UK, with general merchandise like-for-like sales growth of 7.7%.

Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, said: “As a team we have achieved a lot in the last 19 weeks. In the UK we delivered significant improvements in our competitive offer and this is reflected in a very strong Christmas performance which was ahead of the market.

“We have more to do everywhere but remain bang on track to deliver our plans for the year and as we enter our centenary we are in a strong position.”

The figures contrast with a drop in Sainsbury’s like-for-like sales of 1.1% for the 15 weeks to 5 January.