Andy Clarke, the chief executive of UK supermarket retailer Asda, has said he is stepping down, indicating that incoming COO Roger Burnley is in line to take over the top job.

A spokesperson for Asda confirmed the decision by Clarke, who had told reporters of his move at parent Wal-Mart's annual investor meeting last week. He did not, however, say when he would step down and Asda declined to comment further. 

Burnley, who is set to join the UK supermarket group from rival J Sainsbury in October, has been mooted by analysts as Asda's next CEO since being named incoming COO last year. 

Clarke told Retail Week on the sidelines of the investor meeting: "I wanted to find somebody who had the ability to be my successor and it took us some time to find the right person, the right cultural fit, the right sort of character and leader that can run the business. He's a great leader and he's going to be a great colleague."

The news comes just weeks after Asda, one of Wal-Mart's biggest businesses outside the US, posted its seventh consecutive quarterly fall in like-for-like sales.

Asda Q1 sales tumble on "fierce competition"

Wal-Mart CEO Brett Biggs, said: "Improvements in price and product availability throughout the quarter were not enough to overcome traffic and food volume declines in our large format stores. However, Project Renewal remains a focus with the aim to simplify and strengthen the customer offer, reduce costs and drive sales. The cost analytics programme made good progress and delivered savings we were able to invest back into the business."