The worst was over for the UK economy, Sir Terry Leahy said yesterday as the Tesco chief executive claimed that the retailer’s domestic sales were catching up with fastergrowing rivals.

'We are past the low point. Things are getting better,' Sir Terry said of the economic outlook after Britain’s largest retailer reported that its pre-tax profit for the first half of its financial year rose 1% to £1.42bn.

Shoppers were more willing to splash out on non-food items, premium ranges and organic food, which had suffered during the downturn, he said. Sales of ready meals, hit by the recession and health concerns, were beginning to expand.

Financial Times