Wal-Mart results confirm Asda is UK number two

Asda has consolidated its position at the number two grocer in the UK, according to results from its US parent Wal-Mart.

A year ago, Asda became the second-biggest supermarket group in the UK, when it overtook Sainsbury's by market share. The latest figures from Wal-Mart show that the Leeds-based business is not loosening its grip on second spot.

Wal-Mart revealed that Asda's total sales in the second quarter and first half increased in the 'high single digits'. Like-for-like food sales in the second quarter were up 'in the middle digits', while general merchandise and clothing sales grew in the 'high single digits'. The retailer also said that electricals performed strongly.

Retail Knowledge Bank research director Robert Clark said: 'Electricals is an area where Tesco and Asda have a lot of potential, because they are starting to stock better brands. That will make life difficult for the likes of Argos and Dixons.'

Asda's growth appears to be just behind Tesco, which, at its first-quarter trading update in June, posted a UK sales increase of 11.1 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 7.8 per cent.

Asda expects to open 10 supermarket by the end of the year, as well as three George standalones and its first general merchandise shop, Asda Living (Retail Week, July 2).

Wal-Mart said net sales were up 11.3 per cent in the second quarter to US$69.7 billion (£37.9 billion), while income from continuing operations was US$2.7 billion (£1.47 billion) - up 16.3 per cent.