Asda drive to reduce its costs paying off
Profits at Asda surpassed £1bn for the first time last year, despite a decline in sales and slight loss of market share.
According to the annual accounts, Asda's operating profit rose 1.9% to £1.013bn, helped by its drive to reduce costs. That compares with major profit falls last year at all three of Asda's 'big four' rivals in Britain - market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, which doesn't trade in Northern Ireland.
The supermarkets have been hurt by a price war as they attempt to stem the loss of shoppers to discounters like Lidl, and by commodity-led deflation.
Asda said 2014 revenue fell 0.4% to £23.2bn and UK market share dipped 0.1% to 17.1%.
Asda's sales performance has deteriorated significantly in 2015, with the firm posting like-for-like sales declines of 3.9% in its first quarter and 4.7% in its second quarter.
Asda has 17 stores here, including the Asda Living homeware branch at Yorkgate in Belfast. It employs around 4,500 workers.