UK supermarket chain Asda has reported decrease in its third quarter like-for-like (LFL) sales as it aims to ensure availability of goods ahead of Christmas season.

During the quarter that ended 30 September, the retailer’s LFL sales excluding fuel dropped 0.7% compared to the corresponding period in 2020 but grew 2.0% compared to two years prior.

Asda’s clothing sales increased 1.2%, but general merchandise sales dipped 3.1% on LFL basis. Food sales were up by 3.4% compared with Q3 2019.

With customers returning to stores, the retailer saw its digital sales dropped 2.7% from last year and demand for online groceries also eased slightly during the quarter.

As part of its preparation for the busy Christmas season, Asda chartered its own cargo ship to ensure availability of festive products. It also recruited 15,000 temporary colleagues.

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Mohsin Issa CBE and Zuber Issa CBE said: “We know how much Christmas means to our customers, especially after some missed out on celebrations with friends and family last year.

“Our colleagues have pulled out all the stops during the last few months to make sure customers can get their favourite festive products at Asda and enjoy the Christmas they deserve – and we’d like to thank them for their continued effort and commitment to serving our customers.

“Looking ahead, our plans to rollout Asda on The Move remain firmly on track and will open up significant growth opportunities in the convenience channel. We are also highly encouraged by the early uptake of our Asda Rewards loyalty programme and look forward to bringing this trial to customers in more stores next year.”

Recently, the retailer announced that it is expanding its baby product range at certain stores and online.