Asda parent Wal-Mart revealed the UK grocer reported one of its strongest ever Christmas trading seasons, despite its international sales dipping 10.4 per cent in December.

For the five weeks to 2 January, Wal-Mart reported net sales for its international division at $10.7 billion. Group net sales for the period stood at $46.6 billion. Wal-Mart said on a constant currency basis, international sales increased 8.3 per cent.

Wal-Mart vice chairman Mike Duke said: “Our customers around the world continue to feel pressure from the current global economy, leading to sales for Wal-Mart International that were below expectations. As we see consumers focusing on the necessities in this environment, we are reinforcing the value we provide to them through our every day low price philosophy.”

Wal-Mart said Asda sales were strongest in core grocery and George clothing. It said traffic was up significantly in the week before Christmas and Asda had record sales for a single day on December 23.
Asda chief executive Andy Bond said: “As we anticipated Christmas came very late with parents buying practical presents such as slippers and dressing gowns for each other but still making sure their kids' stockings were full on Christmas morning.

“Food sales as expected held up well as customers didn't stint on food and drink to share with family and friends. Sales of Extra Special products were up by over 50% year on year and we also saw a return to traditional Christmas fare as our sales of local produce increased by over 100% year on year.”

Bond said last year was one of its best years and it will continue to offer genuine value for money this year.