Asda has reported a 3.5% rise in like-for-like sales for the first quarter on the back of coronavirus stockpiling and a “surge” in demand for its online delivery services.

The results, which exclude petrol, for the period  1 January to 31 March 2020, reveal Asda.com received more than 3,500 visits per minute during the week beginning 18 March.

The results followed a 1.3% decline in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter in February, after Asda struggled over Christmas.

However, CEO Roger Burnley said despite the initial boom in sales, consumer sentiment was now being dominated by fears of a financial depression. He vowed Asda would continue to concentrate on fighting inflation and keeping prices down in a period he warned would continue to be dominated by Covid-19 for months to come.