New Asda boss Roger Burnley proclaimed victory in the Christmas sales battle, with like-for-likes exceeding those reported by its big four rivals.

In an internal memo sent to staff and seen by The Telegraph, Burnley — who took over from Sean Clarke at the start of this year — said the supermarket had enjoyed the best like-for-like sales growth across the market.

Although the Walmart-owned grocer has not released a formal Christmas trading update, figures suggest like-for-likes jumped 5.3%, compared with a 2.9% decline the previous year.

Burnley added that the grocer had, “most pleasingly”, gained customers from the rest of the big four — Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons — and beaten its targets “by some way” in December. 

It comes as the struggling grocer battles to turn its fortunes around in a fast-changing and brutally competitive market. In November, Asda reported its second consecutive quarter of sales growth after three consecutive years of decline.

In the message to staff, Burnley said: “In December we were the only one of the ‘Big Four’ to hold our market share year-on-year despite the considerable number of new stores that the discounters have opened in the year, and we reduced considerably our losses to the discounters.

“We’re still getting back on our feet, so I expect us to beat last year – but we have momentum and a great platform for our ambitious plans,” he added.  

This Christmas, supermarkets outperformed non-food retailers as inflation prompted customers to prioritise spending on food and cut back on toys and clothing. 

Morrisons unveiled a 2.8% like-for-like sales rise, while Tesco missed its targets and Sainsbury’s strong food sales were let down by weakness at Argos.