Supermarket Asda pledged to protect shoppers from inflationary pressures after it revealed a five per cent rise in underlying first quarter sales.
The UK’s second biggest grocer – part of the Wal-Mart group – said the like-for-like sales increase came as it strove to cut prices for consumers.
Andy Bond, president and chief executive of Asda, said the supermarket had to play its role in helping protect shoppers from rocketing commodity prices, as they also faced steep increases in petrol and energy bills.
He said: "Whilst these results are encouraging, we mustn’t become complacent – especially in the current economic climate.
"We have a duty to lock down inflation by working with our suppliers, to cut costs to ensure that our customers are always getting the best possible deal on their weekly shopping."
Asda posted sales up 6.4 per cent on a comparative basis, excluding petrol, with the early Easter and February’s extra day taken into account.
Total sales saw an increase in the "high single digits" for the first three months of the year, according to the chain.
It added that it had also seen a "healthy" sales performance in April, with a strong fresh food performance.
Sales of its premium own-label range, Extra Special, meanwhile rose by 30 per cent in the first quarter, suggesting that hard-pressed customers are still prepared to splash out on food.
The figures contributed to a better-than-expected first quarter performance from its parent group Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s biggest retailer.
Wal-Mart banked a near-seven per cent increase in profits to $3.02 billion (£1.55 billion) in the three months to the end of April.
Revenues for the US retail giant rose to $95.3 billion (£48.9 billion) compared to $86.4 billion (£44.3 billion) in the first quarter the previous year. News of Asda’s first quarter sales increase comes ahead of Sainsbury’s full-year figures today.
Sainsbury’s, which ranks third behind Asda in the UK, is expected to report underlying pretax profits up 28 per cent to £485 million for the year to March 22.