Asda has reported its first increase in quarterly sales for three years, boosted by a bumper Easter.
Britain’s third biggest supermarket, owned by US retail giant Walmart, said like-for-like sales rose by 1.8%, excluding petrol, in the three months to 30 June.
This compares with a 2.8% fall in the first quarter of this year, which was an eleventh straight decline.
It is a big turnaround when compared to this time last year, when the supermarket chain suffered its worst ever quarterly result with sales plummeting by 7.5%.
Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said he was “encouraged” by the results.
“I visited Asda to see the progress being made,” he said. “Customers are responding to investments in price and store experience by visiting the stores more often and increasing their basket sizes.”
He added: “There’s still much more to be done, but we’re clearly headed in the right direction.”
The second-quarter data comes just weeks after the Leeds-based company revealed a disastrous set of results for 2016.
It reported a 3.2% fall in revenue to £21.7bn in the year to 31 December, while pre-tax profits plummeted by almost 19% to £791.7m.
Accounts filed at Companies House also showed like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT, fell by 5.7%.
However, the supermarket said it was seeing early signs of a turnaround under its new boss Sean Clarke.
Asda said in September last year that it was lowering thousands of prices on everyday favourites by an average of 15% as well as improving the quality of own-brand ranges.
It has been feeling the brunt of the ferocious price war engulfing the supermarket sector as it vies with “big four” rivals Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons for a share of the market being gnawed away by discounters Aldi and Lidl.
Earlier this year, Walmart said it was throwing more of its global buying power behind Asda to help it beat rivals on price.
Source: Sky News