The supermarket reported like for like sales, excluding new store openings and petrol returns, dipped 0.1% in the thirteen weeks to 28 May.
The impact of high petrol prices on discretionary spending was blamed, “a drag on the industry and our own like for like growth”, adds chief executive Philip Clarke.
Including petrol income, like for like store sales grew 3.4% in the UK.
The sales reverse, though an improvement on the 0.7% drop registered in the fourth quarter, was worse than the 0.6% growth expected by analysts.
Clarke, who took over from Sir Terry Leahy as CEO earlier this year, recently announced a 7-point plan to boost growth. Measures include creating more brands and growing non-food sales.
The supermarket also plans to increase its use of social media to advance customer engagement.
Despite its UK woes, the company says like for like sales across the business grew 1.6%. Income was boosted by strong growth in the US and Asia and from a 19.9% bump at Tesco Bank.