Asda leads UK food sales growth league

Asda has confirmed its position as the fastest-growing supermarket chain in the UK as parent Wal-Mart announced full-year numbers.

Wal-Mart never reveals exact sales and profit figures for Asda, but Retail Knowledge Bank research director Robert Clark has worked out the uplifts.

Clark calculated the figures from Wal-Mart's announcement and the Companies House statement that Asda filed for 2001.

Wal-Mart stated that Asda generated double-digit sales growth for 2002.

Clark estimated that to be approximately 11.5 per cent, contributing to total sales of£11.9 billion - up from£10.6 billion in 2001.

Wal-Mart also said that Asda grew profits faster than sales. On that basis, Clark believes Asda's operating profit rose by between 12 and 15 per cent, up from£473.6 million to between£530 million and£540 million.

One industry source believes the real figure to be more than£600 million.

Clark said Asda's figures illustrate that it is the fastest-growing big food retailer in the UK, beating rivals such as Morrisons and Tesco, that posted uplifts of 11.3 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively at their last full-year results.

Teather & Greenwood analyst Dave Stoddart said: 'Global sourcing gives them margin benefits but they invest a big proportion back into price. When they cut prices the pick-up in volume is also strong enough to offset it.'

- Wal-Mart reported full year sales of US$244.5 billion (£152.84 billion), generating net income of US$8.03 billion (£5.01 billion).