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Asda is looking towards a good Christmas after anoher uplift in results

Asda has reported its second consecutive quarter of sales growth, following three disastrous years of decline, although the year-on-year sales uplift was less than the previous quarter.

Parent company Walmart announced its financial earnings for the third quarter (1 July-30 September), including like-for-like growth in sales of 1.1% for Asda.

The struggling supermarket, which last week announced a major overhaul of its Leeds-based senior management team ahead of Roger Burnley taking over as CEO on 1 January, said it was now focused on the vital Christmas period.

In a call to analysts, Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said Asda’s store improvement programme and sharpening of its price positioning had seen further stability for the company, and paid tribute to outgoing Asda boss, Walmart veteran Sean Clarke.

“In the UK Asda delivered positive comp sales again this quarter,” he said. “The improvements to in-store experience and price investments are increasing store basket sizes.”

The company was “excited” to have Roger Burnley lead Asda into the future as CEO starting next year, he said.

“Over the past year, Roger has been our COO and deputy CEO and he has a long and distinguished retail career. I’d like to thank Sean Clarke for the tremendous work he has done over the past year to stabilise the business and position it for growth. Sean has done a lot for our company, living in five countries over his 21-year career with Walmart.”

Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said: “Net sales increased 3.6 %, and LFL sales increased 1.1%. Customers continue to respond to investments in the value proposition. In fact, during the quarter, our in-store service metrics continued to improve and performance strengthened across our private brand and online grocery offerings. While we are pleased with the improved performance in the business, we know we have more work to do.”

In August, Asda returned to sales growth for the first time since 2014, with second quarter sales excluding fuel up 1.8%, although the period included the Easter trading period.

Reacting to today’s results, Clarke said: “It’s great to see we have now delivered our 2nd consecutive quarter of positive LFL growth, and the fifth consecutive quarter of continued sales improvement.

“Right now, we are focused on delivering value for our customers across all of our ranges this Christmas and ensuring everyone gets a great experience, both in store or online. Our colleagues will ensure Asda delivers the ‘Best Christmas Ever’. “The market environment will continue to be challenging into next year but we’re well placed with clear plans and a renewed level of confidence.”