Asda grew like-for-like sales by 1.3%

Asda grew like-for-like sales by 1.3%

UK supermarket giant Asda saw its like-for-like sales growth accelerate in the third quarter of its financial year.

Asda, which is owned by Wal-Mart Stores, the world's biggest retailer, grew sales on a like-for-like basis (excluding fuel and VAT) by 1.3% for the three months to the end of October.

Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart's international arm, described the quarter as "solid" for Asda, with operating income "growing faster than sales, excluding fuel". Wal-Mart, however, does not report an operating income figure for Asda.

UK retailers are gearing up for the always competitive Christmas period but McMillon pointed to Asda's price "promise" to consumers.

"The UK grocery market is entering into what is traditionally a heavy promotional period in time for Christmas. Asda, however, continues with a very simple promise to customers - our prices are 10% cheaper than the competition on comparable baskets, or we'll give you the difference. And Asda's customers like it. Since this year, the prices of more than 13m baskets have been checked online."

He added that the conversion of the Netto stores Asda acquired last year to Asda supermarkets is on schedule, and that sales and profits from the chain are "exceeding" Asda's expectations.

Wal-Mart International, the division to which Asda belongs, posted a 20.3% increase in net sales of US$32.4bn for the quarter. On a constant-currency basis, sales grew 15.3%, while operating income was up 10.3% to US$1.39bn.