Asda is seen to publish its first quarter of sales increase in three years this week, giving the firm a brief respite from 12 quarters of miserable trading.
The Walmart-owned firm has been named as the worst performing major store as its competitors have been more proactive in reacting to the threat from rapidly expanding discount stores Aldi and Lidl.
However, the grocer could announce like-for-like sales increase of about 1pc to 2pc for the second quarter, indicating a turnaround from the 7.5pc sales drop last year, which was its weakest result ever.
Asda would have profited from the return of shop price inflation and favourable comparisons against last year’s fall, but the supermarket has also been buoyed by Steve Clarke’s efforts, its new boss, to stabilise it.
Mr Clarke has proposed targeted price decreases, culled the number of goods on shelves by 25pc and started a “Farm Stores” value food label, in order to strengthen Asda’s competitiveness versus Aldi and Lidl.
However, it is assumed Mr Clarke is wary about prematurely celebrating the supermarket’s turnaround as he risks repeating Andy Clarke’s mistake, his predecessor, in saying the firm was over the worst of its predicaments. Mr Clarke, who was dismissed last year, declared Asda had reached its nadir, only to disappoint with a sales drop.
The foreseen improvement in sales comes on the back of Asda declaring plans last week to remove hundreds of jobs as part of an interview, with the supermarket looking to change working time at 18 of its stores.