Asda has announced a 1.6% decline in third quarter sales but has grown market share for the second consecutive quarter as it begins to “step away from the Big Four”, according to CEO Andy Clarke.

The results mean all of the Big Four have announced a sales decline in recent weeks, in what Clarke described as a distressed market for major retailers. But it is the only major supermarket to have grown market share, from 17.2% to 17.3%.

Clarke said Asda’s five-year strategy to “redefine value retailing” had already seen it outperforming its competitors. The group also saw a 19.6% increase in online shopping, which had grown for the 10th consecutive month.

“We have a clear understanding of the challenge we face as a business. When I launched our strategy a year ago I said that the market was beginning to polarise between the premium retailers and the discounters – and the traditional players would be squeezed,” he said.

“Asda has begun to step away from the Big Four and outperform its traditional competitors. We have more to do on the discounters – but we continue to close the gap on price and offer ten times the range across stores and online.”

He said the last quarter had seen a shockwave go through the industry and that he expected to see another tough quarter ahead. “I’m under no illusions that the battle continues to rage,” he added.