Britain’s third-largest supermarket has said sales rose in the key Christmas quarter partly thanks to the popularity of vegan-friendly mince pies.

Asda, owned by US retail giant Walmart, said like-for-like, or same store, sales rose 0.5% in the last three months of 2017, compared to the same period a year earlier.

“We really improved our offer for customers,” Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said.

“Products like our Asda mince pies really appealed to customers with their great taste, value and being vegan friendly, helped attract over 348,000 new customers to our stores in December and meant we were the only one of the big four to retain our market share.”

Roger Burnley took the helm at Asda in January

Sales growth slowed from 1.1% in the previous quarter.

But it was the third quarter in a row of increase, following three years of declines.

Mr Burnley is the third chief executive to hold the post in the last two years as the retailer has faced stiff competition from old rivals Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and more recent discount entrants Aldi and Lidl.

Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said: “We know we have more work to do in the UK, however we are encouraged by recent results in key areas of our business.”

Meanwhile, the wider Walmart group – the world’s biggest retailer – reported same store sales rose 2.6%.

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