London (AFP)

Britain's largest retailer, supermarket group Tesco, reported Friday rising sales during its first quarter as it looks to turn a corner after an accounting scandal.

Sales in Britain and abroad grew by a combined 3.6 percent during three months to late May, Tesco said in a trading update.

The corresponding performance for the UK alone advanced by 1.6 percent.

"In tough market conditions, we have stayed true to our commitment to helping customers -- working closely with our supplier partners to keep prices low," Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said in the statement.

"Customers have responded by doing more of their shopping with us and as a result we continue to grow volumes, particularly in fresh food," he added.

British inflation soared close to a four-year high in May, official data showed this week, as a Brexit-fuelled slump in the pound pushed up import costs.

The Consumer Price Index inflation rate leapt last month to 2.9 percent, boosted by the rising cost of energy, food and recreational goods.

Inflation had held close to zero throughout 2015 -- but has surged since then on the back of the weak pound following the shock EU exit vote in June 2016.

In early trading, shares in Tesco jumped 2.0 percent to 183 pence on London's rising FTSE 100 index, buoyed also by an underlying UK sales growth of 2.3 percent according to traders.

The latest data from Tesco meanwhile comes after it announced in April an annual net loss totalling £40 million on an accounting scandal.

Tesco recently agreed to a fine and compensation costs over the incident in a deal with Britain's Serious Fraud Office deal, under which the supermarket group will not face prosecution.

However, charges have previously been brought against three former Tesco executives, who will face trial over alleged fraud and false accounting.

The world's third-biggest supermarket chain after France's Carrefour and global leader Wal-Mart is also in the process of completing a £3.7-billion takeover of British wholesaling giant Booker.

Agence France-Presse

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