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Asda's first quarter stumble ends seven-quarter run as Walmart eyes IPO

Earlier this week, parent company Walmart admitted it was “seriously considering” a public listing for Asda
Leeds-based grocer points to challenging backdrop in the UK

Asda’s winning run of growth over the preceding seven quarters came to an end at the start of 2019 as its merger with Sainsbury’s also fell apart.

Not helped by the later timing of Easter this year, Asda’s like-for-like sales slipped 1.1% in the three months to March 31, following a rise of 1% in the fourth quarter of last year.

READ: Sainsbury's and Walmart's Asda abandon merger after competition watchdog rejects deal

“Against a challenging backdrop in the UK, Asda comp sales declined with the Easter flip, but transactions were positive as customer experience continued to improve,” said Brett Biggs, chief financial officer of parent company Walmart.

He said Asda was “making progress on key strategic priorities”, pointing to improved price competitiveness and increased sales of own-brand products.

READ: US private equity giant KKR weighing up bid for Walmart-owned Asda

Following the blocking of the Sainsbury’s deal by the UK competition authorities, Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) has been mulling a potential spin-off of the UK-based grocery arm.

Earlier this week, the Walmart board admitted it was “seriously considering” a public listing for Asda, though admitting it would “take years”.

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