Asda has missed its financial targets for the third successive quarter, its US parent company Wal-Mart has revealed.

Releasing its fourth-quarter financial results, Wal-Mart said that underlying sales for the quarter at Asda had been “slightly negative”, while total sales growth had been in the “low single digits”.

Yesterday, Asda revealed that it planned to open 30 extra stores this year, creating 7,000 new jobs.

Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart’s chief financial officer, said: “I think the next year is going to be very important for Asda. During the course of this last year, they did a nice job with their restructuring and getting their costs back in line.”

He added: “Obviously, we missed our sales and earnings plan at Asda this last year. But in fairness to that team, they hit it head-on in the second-quarter - took several thousand people out of the store base, several hundred at Asda House in Leeds - and we felt the benefit of that in the third and fourth-quarter.”

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart said that total sales for its international stores had increased by 9.6% to $18.4bn in the fourth-quarter.

It added that its profit for the year to January 31 was up 9.4% to $11.2bn, on sales up 9.5% at $312.4bn.