Wal-Mart, the US parent company of Asda, considered pulling out of the UK last year.

Wal-Mart president Lee Scott became so dismayed at the failure to crack the UK market and the constraints on future growth that he ordered a strategic review of Asda last year, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The review could have seen Wal-Mart float a minority stake in Asda or even pull out of the UK entirely to focus on China and India, the paper added.

However, the strategic review has been shelved for now, sources said.