Mike Duke, head of international operations at Wal-Mart, Asda’s US parent company, said that total sales at Asda grew only a mid-single digit percentage in the third quarter to October 31, or at a low-single digit rate excluding fuel sales.
The retailer also failed to gain market share during the period on its nearest rivals Tesco and Sainsbury.
“Asda sales and profits fell short of plan for the quarter, the UK market continues to be very competitive and challenging. Comparable store sales and market share in the quarter were essentially flat,” Duke added.
Asda revealed yesterday that it plans to recruit an extra 2,800 staff as part of a £10m recruitment drive. At least seven new positions will be created at each of its 289 stores, including 800 jobs in Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart reported a 10.1% increase in third quarter net sales of $75.4bn. The US retail giant also said that net sales for the nine months to end October 31 were $223.2bn, an increase of 9.9%.
It added that it had incurred $40m in costs following the recent hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.