Asda posts sales increase ahead of merger ruling

Asda had faced another challenging period said boss Roger Burnley
Asda had faced another challenging period said boss Roger Burnley

Sales at Asda continued to rise in the fourth quarter, as the supermarket awaits the next stage in its proposed merger with Sainsbury’s.

Like-for-like sales were up 1%, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of growth. Meanwhile net sales rose by 2.7%.

Asda boss Roger Burnley said it had been another “challenging” period in retail, but fourth quarter sales were driven by higher demand for the grocer’s own-brand products, especially the premium Extra Special range.

“The year ahead looks no less turbulent than the last, with uncertainties around Brexit playing on our customers’ minds,” he said.

“Whilst I am pleased with our performance in 2018 we must remain focused on ensuring the long term sustainable success of Asda for our customers.”

The results come as Asda and Sainsbury’s await the provisional findings of a competition inquiry into their proposed mega-merger, which are expected this month.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will publish the provisional decision ahead of a statutory deadline, which has been extended to the end of April.

It is expected to include proposed remedies for the merger, including the possible disposal of stores.

The watchdog this month extended the deadline for its final decision by almost two months, citing the scope and complexity of the deal.

If the deal goes ahead, it will provide an exit from the UK market for Asda’s owner Walmart.

The US retail giant reported a quarterly increase of 1.9% in global revenue on Tuesday.

For the full year, revenue climbed 2.8% to $514.4 billion (£398.19bn).