Tesco has posted a 28.7% rise in sales at its online division, with revenues coming in at £554m in the first half of this year.

The supermarket giant, which dominates the UK’s online grocery sector, said profit at Tesco.com increased 43.1% to £33.8m, excluding the launch costs of its non-food operation Tesco Direct.

Overall, the retailer reported a 12.7% rise in sales to £22.7bn for the 26 weeks to 26 August, and a 19.7% rise in profit before tax to £1.09bn.

It said its online grocery business now has around 750,000 regular customers and is approaching 220,000 orders a week.

In its results statement, the group said its experiment with a Tesco.com-only store in Croydon had gone well: “Whilst only a few locations are likely to be appropriate for this, it has been very successful, providing busy stores with more capacity to grow and freeing up a lot more convenient delivery slots for Tesco.com customers.

It added that Tesco Direct had received “well over one million hits” on its website in the three weeks following its launch, but didn’t give any sales or order figures.