Asda’s sales growth picked up pace slightly over the past three months, up 1.3% year-on-year.

The figures, covering the period from 1 July to 30 September, mark an improvement on the 0.5% rise in like-for-like sales in the second quarter. The performance was described as “solid” by the supermarket’s US parent, Walmart.

Footfall fell by 1.3%, but spending on an average shopping trip was up by 2.6%, as customers consolidated their shopping across fewer trips. The high cost of fuel was citing as a contributing factor to the trend.

Asda’s underlying sales growth compares with the 2.4% increase reported by Morrisons over the 13 weeks to Oct 30 and a 1% rise by posted by Sainsbury’s in the 16 weeks to 1 October. At Tesco, sales fell by 0.7% in the 13 weeks to 27 August.

Seen as a bellwether for the US economy, Walmart’s net sales for the third quarter were $109.5bn, an increase of 8.2 % per cent from last year. Walmart International increased net sales by approximately 20% $32.4bn for the quarter, including acquisitions.

“Asda had a solid third quarter, growing sales and growing operating income faster than sales, excluding fuel,” said Walmart International president Doug McMillon.

“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.”

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