Asda has said that shoppers have spent more on higher-end products to treat themselves during lockdown as the pandemic grocery boom continued into the final quarter of 2020.
The UK’s third largest supermarket chain said that like-for-like sales jumped by 5.1% in the three months to the end of December as it was buoyed by strong Christmas sales.
It revealed that sales were up 6.9% in the eight weeks before Christmas Eve, against the same period last year.
The trading update comes after the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity backers TDR capital secured a £6.8 billion deal to buy the UK retail giant.
The takeover, which will include around £3.5 billion in debt financing and the sale of Asda’s petrol forecourt business, is awaiting approval by the UK’s competition regulator.
In an update on Thursday, Asda said customers shifted their shopping behaviour to purchase more premium items following a tough year, boosting group revenues
The group’s Extra Special range saw sales jump by 30% in December as shoppers particularly spent more on meat, fish and poultry.
Rapid online growth also helped to push revenues higher during the period.
It said combined sales for its Asda.com and George.com platforms jumped by 76% year-on-year.
Asda said the growth comes after it increased its grocery home shopping capacity by 90% to 850,000 weekly slots between March and December 2020.
Roger Burnley, Asda chief executive officer and president, said: “Our focus on keeping prices low, providing great quality products and keeping customers safe when they visit our stores were key to delivering a strong performance across the quarter and particularly during the busy Christmas period.
“The festive season was like no other and I am proud of the way Asda colleagues responded to the exceptional circumstances they faced.
“It was only right that we recognised their hard work by closing our stores on Boxing Day so the vast majority of them could spend more time with their family during this period.”