Intense price competition has dented margins at Asda, the UK unit of Wal-Mart, although increased sales during the FIFA World Cup and new product launches helped to boost results.

Although the retailer does not give exact figures for margins and sales, the UK's second largest supermarket operator reported better-than-expected sales, which rose by 5%. Increased sales were the result of higher customer numbers and improvements in consumer perception of product availability and prices.

Asda said that while income for the three-months to July had been lower than expected, it has nonetheless increased its market share.

During the world cup, sales of beer and barbecue foods, along with football paraphernalia, increased. The launch of Asda's 'go cook' range and over 500 new or improved chilled foods also helped sales, the company said.

The group said that sales had also been boosted by the launch of a new range of freshly prepared meals to cook at home called 'Go Cook' and over 500 new or improved chilled food lines.