Asda has laid bare a disastrous 2016 in which sales and profits collapsed as the firm came out worse for wear in Britain’s supermarket wars.

The Walmart-owned firm saw sales drop 3.2% to £21.7 billion in the year to December 31, while pre-tax profits crashed almost 19% to £791.7 million.

Like-for-like sales also plummeted by 5.7%, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

The figures crystallise a torrid time for the grocery giant, which has reported 11 consecutive quarters of sales declines.

Asda's sales performance was behind their expectationsAsda’s sales performance was behind their expectations (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“The grocery market has continued to experience low growth throughout the year and competition in the sector has remained intense.

“Our sales performance, relative to the market, was behind our expectations,” the company said.

However, Asda added that despite the disappointing results, there are signs that turnaround efforts under new boss Sean Clarke are beginning to bear fruit.

Asda are owned by WalmartAsda are owned by Walmart (Barry Batchelor/PA)

The group pointed to the final quarter of 2016, when it said improvements in ranges and price cuts were paying off.

Mr Clarke, who took up the reins last summer after being parachuted in to replace previous boss Andy Clarke, has slashed the prices of everyday items as he attempts to arrest falling sales.

The chain reported a 2.8% fall in like-for-likes sales in its first quarter of this year, a moderate improvement on the previous period, which saw sales fall 2.9%.

The Big Four supermarkets, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, have all sufferedThe Big Four supermarkets, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, have all suffered (Chris Radburn/PA)

Last August Asda posted its worst ever quarterly sales fall of 7.5%.

Asda’s share of the market fell 0.9% to 15.7% last year, according to Kantar.

All of the so-called Big Four supermarkets, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, have suffered as German discounters Aldi and Lidl have gobbled up market share.