Customers also went online in their hundreds of thousands to check their receipts, under the Asda price guarantee.
The first-quarter figures emerged as Asda’s parent company Walmart International reported its own financial results for the period.
Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Asda parent company Walmart International, said: “Our online business in the UK maintained its strong performance, with sales growth of 19.2% in the quarter.
“With customers trusting EDLP [Every Day Low Prices], we carried the momentum gained over Christmas into the first quarter. The Asda price guarantee attracted more than 500,000 online checks per week in the first quarter.”
He added: “We continue to sell at lower prices by embedding cost savings programmes in operations.”
Online sales growth outstripped sales across the Asda estate, which grew by 7.1% in total, excluding acquisitions, VAT and fuel, in the 12 weeks to March 31, compared to the same period last year. On a like-for-like basis they were up by 2.2%, excluding VAT and fuel. The gross profit rate in the UK business was flat compared to last year.
Andy Clarke, chief executive and president of Asda, said: “I’m proud of the work our stores, depots and teams at Asda House and George House put in during the quarter to build on our end-of-year momentum and deliver market-leading growth. Customers really valued our price leadership, the ongoing improvements in quality and our commitment to warm and friendly service.”
Highlights from the quarter included the opening of three new stores, taking total Asda stores to 544 across the UK.
The update came a day after clothing label George at Asda reported that it would halve its lead times for fast fashion as a result of buying the sourcing division of George’s supplier, GAAT in Turkey. The division, now George Turkey, means the company can reduce lead times for George stock in its stores from 16 weeks to eight.
Andrew Moore, executive managing director of George, said: “We will now be able to work even more closely with manufacturers to ensure our garments reach our stores as quickly as possible, and with an even stronger focus on the value and quality our customers expect from us.”
George also announced two new standalone concept stores opening
In Bolden and Leicester, designed to feel like a department store rather than a supermarket. Its first George franchise store will open in Jersey in June.
George is now the third largest clothing retailer in the UK by volume and the largest retail of children’s clothing, again by volume.