Asda has announced a 2.9% decline in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter, although the figure mark an improvement on previous quarters.

The sales decline excluding petrol for the three months to 31 December 2016 compares to a 5.8% decline in the previous quarter, and a 7.5% drop in the three months to June.

Asda president and CEO, Sean Clarke, said 140,000 customers returned to its stores over the quarter.

“We are encouraged by the early signs of our customers responding positively to the hard work that’s been happening in our stores throughout 2016,” he added.

“We are putting customers first and have sharpened our prices, improved our ranges and availability, all with friendly service. While we have a lot to do, it is great to see our colleagues, who really make the difference, engaged in this change in doing what’s right for customers.”

Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO of Walmart, which owns Asda, said: “In the UK, we faced some challenges this past year and we’re addressing this with urgency. I’m glad comp store sales improved during the fourth quarter, but we have a lot of work to do.”