Having largely kept its head above water as sales and market share sinked at fellow supermarkets, Asda is finally feeling the pinch. The supermarket published figures today showing sales slipped for the first time since 2010 during its third quarter.
The UK’s second largest supermarket said like-for-like sales fell 1.6 per cent in the three months 30 September. That compares with like-for like sales growth of 0.6 per cent in the previous quarter.
In a gloomy landscape, however, it was hardly bad news.
The supermarket also managed to increase market share up to 17.3 per cent, outperforming its “big four” rivals which have been losing ground against discounters Aldi and Lidl. Online shopping sales were also up 16.9 per cent.
“Vouchers can win quarters, but strategies win decades,” trumpeted chief executive Andy Clarke, focusing on the strength of a five-year strategy he began rolling out last year.
Clarke said he was “pleased with Asda’s performance in a distressed market”
The last quarter has seen a shockwave go through our industry and others are starting to respond to the challenges they face. I expect that we will see another tough quarter and I’m under no illusions that the battle continues to rage.
A new reality is upon us and although we were the first to adapt, we need to do everything to remain ahead of our traditional competitors whilst removing reasons for customers to go to the small discount shops. That's the strategy we are on and we need to keep accelerating it. We won’t be knee jerked into reacting to short term tactics.
Meanwhile Walmart, Asda's US owner and the largest retailer in the world, reported a third quarter rise in revenue of 2.9 per cent to $119m - its first rise in sales this year. Net profits dipped 0.4 per cent to $3.71 billion from $3.74bn in the same period last year.