Asda wraps up a further rise in quarterly sales

Asda has seen its underlying sales grow for a seventh consecutive quarter as it awaits the next stage in its proposed multi-billion-pound merger with Sainsbury’s.

The US-owned chain is in talks to merge with Sainsburys. Picture: Michael Gillen

Like-for-like sales were up 1 per cent in the fourth quarter, despite what Asda boss Roger Burnley said had been another “challenging” period in retail. Takings were boosted by higher demand for the supermarket giant’s own-brand products, particularly its premium Extra Special range.

“The year ahead looks no less turbulent than the last, with uncertainties around Brexit playing on our customers’ minds,” Burnley said.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Whilst I am pleased with our performance in 2018 we must remain focused on ensuring the long-term sustainable success of Asda for our customers.”

The results come as Asda and Sainsbury’s await the provisional findings of a competition probe into their proposed mega-merger.

If the deal presses ahead, Asda’s US-based parent Walmart would retain a 42 per cent stake in the merged entity. Walmart reported a quarterly rise of 1.9 per cent in its global revenue. For the full year, revenue rose 2.8 per cent to $514.4 billion (£398.2bn).

Burnley added: “It’s clear that retailers have to be prepared to innovate. During the fourth quarter our own brand continued to grow ahead of the market with even more customers enjoying innovative products within our Extra Special range.”