Tesco posted profits of £1.09 billion yesterday after taking more than £17 billion from UK shoppers in six months.
The supermarket chain, which banks an estimated £1 in every £7 spent on the UK high street, benefited from strong summer sales and further expansion of its non-food ranges, which now account for more than one-fifth of UK business.
Strong international growth aided Tesco's overall improvement, as total sales rose 12.7 per cent to £22.7 billion and profits leapt 10.3 per cent to a new record in the six months to the end of August.
Chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said the retailer continued to deliver "strong progress" across all of its businesses.
But Tesco's latest haul - keeping it on course for full-year profits of around £2.5 billion - angered environmental and consumer groups which have accused the chain of killing off competition and driving out independent traders.
Friends of the Earth's super-market campaigner Vicki Hird said: "Ministers and competition authorities must put the brakes on the Tesco juggernaut and take action to protect our small shops, farmers and the environment."
However, the continued growth of the UK's biggest retailer was well received in the City.
Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said the retailer continued to go "from strength to strength", despite recent signs of a revival in trade for rivals Morrisons and Sainsbury's.
He said: "It's not just rival supermarkets which will be looking on with envy - the majority of general retailers will again be casting a worried eye."
In its core business, Tesco said sales grew by 10.2 per cent while the like-for-like figure improved to 6.5 per cent in the wake of July's heatwave.
Tesco said growth in customer numbers was the main driver in the sales improvement, with shoppers also spending more despite falling prices.
It expects to add some 7.6 per cent to its UK selling area during the current financial year, following the opening of 36 new Express sites during the first half.
It now has 689 outlets in the Express convenience store format, while extensions created six more hypermarkets - ensuring the Tesco Extra business accounts for around one-third of the company's sales area in the UK.
The pace of growth quickened in non-grocery areas, with sales up 12.6 per cent on a comparable basis during the first half and accounting for one-fifth of trade.
Tesco said the performance reflected the cautious consumer spending environment, as shop-pers turned to the supermarket for lower-priced products.
Clothing sales grew 19 per cent in a subdued market, while electronics sales increased 36 per cent.
Mr Leahy said price cuts and better ranges at its 1,900 British stores helped account for Tesco's record profits.
He added that by the end of the year, nearly 60 per cent of Tesco's group space will be outside Britain as it jockeys with Wal-Mart and Carrefour for a slice of markets like India, China and the US. UK sales grew 10.2 per cent, international rose 21.3 per cent, while Tesco.com climbed 30 per cent.
Numis analysts called the results "strong", but they doubted that Tesco's British growth could continue with resurgent rivals like Asda and Sainbury introducing new store formats and ranges to claw back market share.
It said: "The second-quarter number was boosted by the hot summer and the World Cup, so we could not expect this rate of growth to be maintained into the second half."