Reports have appeared over the weekend (14-15 January) in the UK press that Christmas sales at Asda, the UK supermarket owned by US giant Wal-Mart, rose by more than the 2.8% attained by competitor chain Morrisons.

Analysts had expected sales at Asda over the Christmas period to grow by 2%, however a spokesperson for the chain told Reuters that Asda's growth was better than the level reported by Morrisons.

J. Sainsbury's has reported underlying sales growth over the Christmas period of 5.2% and Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket chain, is expected to record a rise of between 5 and 6%.

As yet, Asda has been unavailable for comment.