Asda is bringing in extra Christmas staff to fetch forgotten items for customers who are already queuing.

One or two dedicated "go-getters for forgetters" will be in every store from 18 December until Christmas Eve. They will be identified by a red sash and a flashing badge with a 'happy to help' motif.

"Colleagues will be floating around the tills and getting items that customers have forgotten so they don't lose their space in the queue and have to trawl back around the store," said a spokeswoman.

"Customers told us they often forget things when they go into store, especially if they're doing a big shop that's unusual."

The items most often forgotten were basics such as milk and bread.

"They buy them week in, week out but, come Christmas, their mind is on more exciting things," the spokeswoman said.

Asda carried out the research after store managers reported that already-busy queues were further held up by people leaving their trolleys to pick up items they had forgotten. The retailer claimed the new initiative would "shave minutes" off queueing times.

Asda's 'space here' ­pointing finger at the tills, launched this time last year, will say "snow-one here" next month. Instead of a green finger, the pointer will be red Santa gloves.

In May marketing director Rick Bendel revealed plans to liven up retail events in a bid to be seen as "price-plus". As well as its price guarantee giving customers the difference plus a penny off their next Asda shop if their basket would have been cheaper at rivals, Asda is trialling a queue management system in 16 stores.

This week the chain posted like-for-like growth for the first time this year, with sales up 1.3% in the three months to 30 September.

"We are in good shape and focused on delivering for customers in three key ways: keeping prices low; enhancing quality, and driving product innovation into our stores through the introduction of new ranges," said CEO Andy Clarke