Asda staff have saved £515m over the past 30 years in the grocer’s “save as you earn” scheme.

The ShareSave scheme allows staff to set aside £5 to £250 per month for a three year period, after which they receive a tax free bonus and have the opportunity to buy parent company Walmart shares at a 20% discounted rate. Employees can then sell the shares at a market rate.  

On average, over 25,000 colleagues a year have taken advantage of scheme, putting side around £20 per month each.

Asda people director Hayley Tatum said: “Our in-store and depot colleagues work extremely hard, day-in day out, to serve the 18 million customers that come through our doors each week. The ShareSave scheme is just one of the ways we want to thank them for their efforts.”

A record £49m was pocketed by employees last year. Those who saved the maximum amount received a £6,000 profit on their original £9,000 investment.

Seperately, Asda has been penalised by the Advertising Standards Authority after it ruled a press advert with the strapline “only one supermarket is always 10% cheaper” misled consumers with the inference that Asda’s prices were always the lowest price.

The complaint, brought by rivals Tesco, was upheld despite Asda’s defence that it was meant to draw attention to its Asda Price Guarantee.