Asda has reported a 0.5% rise in like-for-like sales, but gross profit margins have dipped, for the fourth quarter ending 31st December.

Without disclosing the exact amount of its profit’s decrease, owner Walmart attributed the slip to “on-going price investments”.

The sales growth is the supermarket’s fourth consecutive step on in sales, following reports in January that Asda was “the only one of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets to hold its market share in December”.

Commenting on Asda’s performance, Roger Burnley, who took the helm as Asda’s president and CEO in January, said: “Last year, we really improved our offer for customers – combining great product innovation with a focus on value and an easy shopping experience.

“Products like our Asda mince pies really appealed to customers with their great taste, value and being suitable vegan friendly, helped attract over 348,000 new customers to our stores in December and meant we were the only one of the big four to retain our market position.”

Burnley stated that moving into 2018, the retailer will place an “increased focus on Every Day Low Prices with the launch of Rolled Back Staying Back”, along with “continued innovation in our own brands”.

He also drew attention to Asda’s commitment to reduce its use of plastics and to support Fareshare and The Trussell Trust in its fight against food poverty.

Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon, added: “In the U.K., Asda delivered positive comp sales again this quarter with particular strength during the Christmas period.

“We’re pleased to see customers responding to our investments in the value proposition through improved in-store experience scores and the strengthening of our private brand and online grocery offerings. We know we have more work to do in the U.K., however we are encouraged by recent results in key areas of our business.”