Asda boss Andy Clarke said the grocer’s sales have returned to normal following the horse meat scandal as it starts to win back customer trust.

Andy Clarke said: “Trust was dented and trust is returning. There was some marginal sales impact initially and we’ve seen that recover. We are back to where we were [in meat sales].”

Asda has widened its testing programme to help prevent a reoccurrence of the horse meat controversy which rocked the grocery sector earlier this year.

“We’ve added a number of different levels of testing into the programme, which is in factory, in abattoir and then testing products within our own supply chain,” he said.

Meanwhile, the grocer is looking to widen its click-and-collect service to include collection points at university campuses, transport depots and rail stations.

Retail director Mark Ibbotson told Retail Week the grocer is in discussions with two universities and major rail operators.

Asda has launched trials including drive-thru click-and-collect and pick-up points at a business park and petrol station over the past year.

Clarke unveiled a 1.3% increase in like-for-like sales in its first quarter to April 14 today, which he said was down to the grocer’s investment in value through its everyday low price strategy. 

He hit out about the heavy use of vouchers and coupons by rivals.  He said: “We’re not being distracted by other gimmicks happening around the market. The consumer is looking for real price and value rather than yo-yo pricing. It gives them consistency of basket cost. We’ve invested in essential items and we’re holding these prices down for a long period of time.”

He also said the retailer had invested in 50p and £1 price points to help its customers manage their budgets.

“There’s a lot of talk about pound shops. We’re Britain’s biggest pound shop,” he said.