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Christmas sales slump at Asda as discounters pile on pressure

PUBLISHED: 14:58 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:15 19 February 2016

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Supermarket Asda saw sales slump nearly 6pc over the crucial Christmas and New Year period.

The Big Four grocer said like-for-like sales had dropped 5.8pc in the fourth quarter, with full-year like-for-like sales also slumping 4.7pc.

The company – which is owned by US retail giant Walmart – said the falls came as it faced “fierce” competition in the grocery sector, which had put its market share “under pressure”.

The announcement came as the supermarket put further flesh on the bones of its turnaround strategy after revealing plans to invest £500 million into cutting prices last month.

The company said the first phase of the price cuts would come into force on Thursday through its Pocket More scheme, which aims to make Asda cheaper than Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons on 1,600 lines.

It also confirmed that it would use the investment to step up its battle against discounters like German rivals Aldi and Lidl.

Andy Clarke, president and chief executive of Asda, said that, amid the continued tough trading environment for grocers, the supermarket’s performance was “commendably stable” as some of its rivals had suffered “severe falls in profitability”.

He added: “We have steered a careful course through this very turbulent period for the industry and through a complex set of challenges.”

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