British retailer major Tesco posted a pre-tax profit of £1.7bn for the first half of 2013, down 11.6%.

The supermarket group’s UK and international businesses suffered a fall in like-for-like sales in the period resulting in the decline in profits.

The company’s group sales for the period ending 25 August were up by 1.4% to £36.0bn, compared to the same period last year while the retailers revenue increased 1.6% to £32.31bn.

International sales totaled £11.556m while the UK sales were £23.940m.

Europe sales amounted to £5,285m with US and Asian sales totalling £365m and £5.906m respectively.

Tesco hired 8,000 extra staff in the UK, modernised 230 stores, and is expanding its meat, bakery and frozen food ranges as part of its £1bn investment programme.

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said that they will continue to act decisively to tackle challenges and seize opportunities across the Group

"The external environment continues to present challenges all over the world," Clarke added.

"Whilst our businesses in Asia and Europe have continued to do a great job for customers, our financial performance there reflects the tough economic backdrop and particularly the regulatory changes in South Korea.

"That we have gained or held market share in the majority of markets is a testimony to the skill of our teams across the group."

The company’s grocery online business continues to outperform, with sales up by more than 11% compared to the same period last year.

Tesco operates in 14 markets across Europe, Asia and North America.