Asda has posted a 0.5% decline in like-for-like retail sales for the three months to September 30th and highlighted how uncertainty about Brexit is impacting shopper confidence. The drop in sales represents a slight deterioration on performance in the first half of 2019 when sales declined by 0.3% (Q1 was -1.1% and Q2 +0.5%, with quarterly trends impacted by the timing of Easter).
'Doing the right things for customers'
In a market impacted by severe political and economic uncertainty, Asda has remained focused on 'doing the right things for customers' according to CEO Roger Burnley. Key actions have included increasing investments in prices - £80m was allocated for this in the latter half of 2019 - as well as investing more in quality and the customer experience. Asda is also actively developing its online operations with improvements to its website and to its digital infrastructure resulting in double digit growth during the period.
Innovating where customers care
As well as investing in technology, Asda is innovating to meet changing customer expectations. Reducing plastics is a key area of focus, with Asda moving its entire own brand ready meal offer to recyclable packaging, removing plastic herb pots and introducing reusable bags for loose fruit and vegetables. Asda has also continued to implement its 'Creating Change for Better' strategy and completed the rollout of its back-of-store food donations programme to all superstores and supercentres.
Confidence in Asda's resilience
Commenting on the trading outlook, Roger Burnley said “I am absolutely committed to securing the future of our business for the benefit of our colleagues, our customers and our communities – whatever external challenges we may face. As we enter the busiest trading period of the year, I am confident that we are ready and raring to go and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to every one of our colleagues, who I know will pull out all the stops to make this Christmas extra special for our customers. Whilst the retail sector continues to face challenges as a whole, I know that Asda is built on strong foundations and is at its best when we are able to work as one team, delivering for our customers.”
Strengthening performance at Walmart
At parent Walmart, total Q3 sales increased by 2.5% with US comp store sales up by 3.2%, putting the retailer in a strong position ahead of the most important trading period.. For details visit story here
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