The accounts for Asda Group Limited, filed on Companies House, which includes the financial activities of all Asda stores, distribution centres and online operations show that operating profit increased 9.2% to £803.2m with revenues up 3.1% to £22.92bn.
Like-for-likes, excluding fuel and VAT, also increased 1.6% in the period to December 31 2018, when net cashflow from operating activities was £1.29bn. It added that online sales grew ahead of the market in 2018 following developments to its website, mobile and tablet apps.
Last month Asda reported a 0.3% like for like sales decline for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year, noting the challenges facing shoppers in the current climate.
Asda said growth has been driven through a “continued focus on targeted price investments, further development in own-brand product quality and range and improved availability, particularly in fresh”.
It also credited lowering prices across key customer-favourite lines to help mitigate the impact of food inflation, which helped to secure Asda The Grocer’s G33 Price Award for the twenty-first consecutive year.
Asda CFO, Rob McWilliam, said: “The challenges faced in the market during 2018 have only intensified as we move through 2019 and we remain steadfast in our approach to win on price, deliver a consistent customer experience and drive growth where customers care.”
The news comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger after finding it would lead to “increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK”.
The merger was said to be worth around £12bn and would have seen the grocer’s leapfrog Tesco as the country’s largest supermarket.
In May, Asda’s US-based parent company Walmart said it would now look at an initial public offering for Asda with a possible flotation earmarked in the next two to three years.