The seemingly unstoppable Tesco - Britain's largest supermarket chain by far - is also set to become the nation's largest non-foods retailer, according to a new report from retail analysts Verdict Research.

The report, UK Non-Food in Grocers 2006, predicts that Tesco will increase the pace of its non-food sales growth this year, overtaking home and general merchandise giant Argos Retail Group whose sales topped £5.5 billion in the year ended 31 March 2006.

According to the report's author, senior retail analyst Alastair Lockhart, Tesco is set to outstrip ARG this year and is certain to extend its lead into 2007 and beyond.

The report notes that Tesco continues to add substantial new non-food space by way of mezzanines, store extensions and new store builds. Moreover it is skilfully enhancing its ranges across all categories, especially via the internet and instore catalogues.

"As Tesco opens more of its largest Extra stores over the next few years, we can expect to see a lot more clothing, homewares and electricals goods in Tesco's stores," says Lockhart. Ranges will be broader, and the way product is displayed will improve."

Overall, predicts the report, by 2007 UK grocery chains will account for £1 in every £10 spent on all non-food products.

Data sourced from Verdict Research (UK); additional content by WARC staff