Asda boss Andy Clarke has said the troubled supermarket's “nadir” has been reached, as the Walmart-owned retailer revealed yet another slump in sales.
Second quarter like-for-likes were down 4.7 per cent, while profits were flat. Clarke described the figures as “disappointing, but a short-term picture”.
“We've hit our nadir,” Clarke said insisting there was “an upward trend” emerging. The wider market was facing “exceptionally challenging times” resulting in "unprecedented" turmoil, he added.
He said: “We continue to navigate a steady course through the worst storm in retail history, despite another challenging quarter. Predicting that 2015 was going to be a volatile year I didn’t expect to report a positive sales figure, but I’m not distracted by the short-term picture. We have an enviably stable business with balanced books and the right strategy to return us to sales growth.”
Chief financial officer Alex Russo insisted that “behind the negative sales number lies a more positive story for Asda”. While Asda's profits were flat, the rest of the big four have all experienced a drop, he said.
Separately, Wal-Mart posted weaker than expected quarterly earnings and lowered its full-year forecast.
"We're pleased that the investments we've made are helping to improve our business. Even if it's not as fast as we would like, the fundamentals of serving our customers are consistently improving, and it's reflected in our comps and revenue growth. In this case, our desired changes require investments, which are pressuring earnings this year,” said president and chief executive of Walmart Stores Inc Doug McMillon.
“We're confident that our strategic plan will create robust sustainable growth for shareholder returns over time."