Supermarket giant Tesco has reported growth in its online business of 24% in the crucial six-week trading period to 5 January. The jump in web orders, along with surging overseas sales, contributed to an overall 12.8% increase in sales.

The continued growth of online came against a backdrop of slow growth in the UK market, up just 3% year-on-year.

“Our online businesses, and Tesco Direct, had a very successful Christmas, with total sales up by 24% to over £190m with well over two million orders delivered in the six weeks,” the firm said in a statement. The total was boosted by strong sales of MP3 players, digital cameras and laptops, said Tesco.

Earlier this week, rival Sainsbury’s announced that the seven days before Christmas had represented its best ever week of online trading, after processing 90,000 orders, and said that in the quarter online sales growth was over 40%.

Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy said last year that the firm had focused a great deal of attention on developing its online offering. This was despite the distractions of battling against Wal-Mart in the US as Tesco tried to get its Fresh & Easy convenience stores off the ground.

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