Asda has announced like-for-like sales growth of 6% for the past year – although that slowed to 4.6% in the past three months.

Chief executive Andy Bond (pictured) insisted 2009 had been “a great year for Asda” and said the supermarket had exceeded sales and profits targets for the 12 months to 31 January.

He reiterated claims that Asda had suffered from the severe weather more than its rivals but also admitted the retailer had relied too heavily on promotions last year.

“We’re putting the right structure in place to generate significant savings to customers over the years ahead, powered by our unique relationship with Walmart,” Bond said.

Bond also confirmed plans – reported earlier this week on – to focus on smaller stores and developing its non-food offer through the Asda Living format.

Asda singled out the Rayleigh store as its best performing outlet in England, with branches in Enniskillen, Girvan and Pwllheli named as the top performers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales respectively.

The supermarket also announced a record £26m bonus payout to its store and depot workers – almost a fifth higher than last year – payable on 26 February.

Asda people director Chet Kuchinad commented: “To announce a record bonus payout and the creation of thousands of new jobs in a challenging economic environment is testament to the successful year that we have had here at Asda.

The news came as US parent Walmart unveiled full-year sales of $405bn for the group, up by just 1% on the previous 12 months.

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