Asda Sales Down 4.5% in Third Quarter

Asda has reported a 4.5% fall in like-for-like sales in what it described as a challenging third quarter.

Speaking in London, Asda president and chief executive Andy Clarke said the supermarket had adjusted its existing strategy by launching ‘Project Renewal’ last month which is an 18-month programme designed to get Asda back to a “simpler way of doing business” to “deliver market leading value in a way customers will notice.”

Examples of this include working with suppliers on a range review programme to deliver an overall 10% reduction to remove duplication and investment in a refresh of 95 large stores.
Clarke added: “This is a logical and necessary adjustment of our existing strategy, to better address the immediate challenges and permanent changes the market is facing. It is a slow and costly process to reconfigure any business to meet fundamental challenges on this scale, but I’m clear that only businesses which are well positioned, financially strong and able to efficiently deliver what their customers want can be successful in this environment.”
Asda chief finance officer Alex Russo pinpointed key highlights including Back to School and Halloween sales which were up 9% and 12% year-on-year respectively. He also revealed that online grocery sales increased by 6% in the quarter and that George.com clothing sales are growing ahead of the market and up 30%.

Russo also announced that store efficiency savings are on track to deliver £100 million this year and efficiencies in logistics will achieve a 3% saving.

Clarke added: “There’s no doubt this represents another challenging quarter. Sales volumes remain under pressure from price deflation and the intensely competitive background remains throughout the food sector. Having said that, we have the financial strength and clear plan to sustain us through this period, while we take appropriate and considered action to further strengthen our competitive position.”

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