Asda has reported a slight decline in sales and profitability in its latest accounts.

The supermarket filed its 2019 accounts last week, in which it posted sales for the year of £22.9 billion, a like-for-like decline of 0.8 per cent. Operating profit stood at £584.2 million, down from £803.2m in 2018.

The retailer said profits fell due to a number of one-off costs, including an increase in share option charges, mainly due to the Asda colleague Sharesave plan and property costs.

The figures are expected to be wildly different in 2020 given the increase in sales, and costs, associated with the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent changes in shopper behaviour.

Giving an update on its acquisition by the Issa brotherts and TDR Capital, Asda said the takeover is on track to complete in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory approval. The new owners are expected to inject over £1bn over the next three years in strengthening the customer proposition and supply chain.

Asda also said it will continue to invest in accelerating its omnichannel offer and in the resilience of its supply chain, including sourcing more food from UK farmers and maintaining its commitment to supporting domestic suppliers and small businesses.

Chief financial officer Rob McWilliam said: “This annual report is a record of the progress we made in investing for customers and advancing delivery of our strategy in 2019.
“During the year, we invested incrementally in our customer offer, delivering lower prices to millions of customers and improving the quality of thousands of own-brand products through use of healthier ingredients and more sustainable packaging. We also refreshed 37 stores with our latest proposition.'