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Tesco.com, the ecommerce operation of Britain's biggest supermarket chain, is on the verge of making a profit.

Announcing half-year results to August, Tesco.com notched up online sales of £146 million - 77 per cent up on last year.

Its grocery-based home shopping service made "good profits" the company said.

Overall though, the tesco.com operation - which includes other e-tail operations such as furniture, electrical goods and games - made a loss of £3 million.

This was due mostly to new service investment costs such as the creation of an online wine retailing business.

Despite this, Tesco.com said it will make a profit this year.

Tesco.com is available to nine out of ten people in the UK, and hopes to replicate its success in the US.

In June, Tesco.com announced it was to export its know-how to Safeway, via the latter's on-line grocery e-tailer, GroceryWorks, to create an ecommerce home delivery shopping service in the US.

Group sales for the six months to August at Tesco, which includes its UK and international operations, increased by 14.2 per cent to £11.5 billion generating pre-tax profits of £471 million. ®

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