SUPERMARKET Asda has reported a flat quarter for sales but said trading picked up last month with the help of Easter and the royal wedding.
The UK’s second biggest supermarket chain revealed that like-for-like sales excluding VAT grew by 0.1% in the quarter to March 31, although stripping out an early Easter, sales were up 0.8%. This still represents a slowdown on the 1.6% seen in the final quarter of 2010 but Asda pointed out that April had been stronger as the extended bank holidays boosted trade.
Asda also announced £27m of investment in fresh food by trebling the number of quality control staff in its depots and farms, as well as improvement in its meat department and ensuring its cod and haddock is line-caught.
Chief executive Andy Clarke, who took over a year ago, admitted last year that the standard of the company’s produce was not good enough.
He has already responded by investing £100m on its own label food and drink including the launch of a new mid-tier range Chosen By You range, which contains 6,500 products endorsed by customers.