Asda invested GBP100m in prices of "essentials"

Asda invested GBP100m in prices of "essentials"

Asda, the UK's second-largest retailer, saw its underlying sales slow in the last three months of its financial year.

The company today (21 February) reported its like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, increased by 0.1% in the 14 weeks to 5 January. Asda's share of grocery sales dipped from 17.5% to 17.3% year-on-year.

However, the quarterly result compared to a 1% rise for the full year when Asda increased its market share.

Reflecting on Asda's fourth quarter, Asda CFO Richard Mayfield pointed to a "very strong Christmas in 2012" and the investment the retailer made in prices of what it called "essentials" - products like bread and milk.

"We are very pleased with growth on growth," he said at a media conference in London today.

Asda did not provide figures for profit for the quarter or the full year. However, Mayfield said Asda's work on costs meant its profits grew faster than sales. "We're pleased with our profit performance," he added.

Check back later for further coverage of Asda's results and its comments on the horsemeat contamination scandal.