Asda warns of shopper misery as sales drop

SUPERMARKET chain Asda said yesterday shoppers were being hit in the pocket by government cuts as like-for-like sales excluding fuel fell 0.4 per cent in the second quarter.

The chain said its market share had reduced in the 12 weeks to 11 July as total sales crept up “in the low single digits”.

Chief executive Andy Clarke said: “These are increasingly uncertain times for millions of families across the UK.”

The slip in sales follows a 0.3 per cent decline in the first three months of the year, which was the first fall since early 2006.

The company added: “Customers are facing challenges from recently announced tax increases and cuts in government spending.”

Meanwhile Asda’s US owner Walmart announced a better-than-expected 3.6 per cent rise in profit, but with revenue which was below estimates.

MORRISONS GAINS MARKET SHARE

ASDA and rival Tesco lost ground to Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in the 12 weeks to 8 August, with both growing at a slower rate than the 4.5 per cent advance seen by the wider market over the year, according to industry figures. Kantar Worldpanel, which tracks the weekly sales of the big supermarkets, said Asda was sitting on a market share of 16.9 per cent, compared with 17.2 per cent in the equivalent period a year ago. Market leader Tesco also slipped to 30.8 per cent from 31 per cent a year ago. Morrisons and Sainsbury’s however both added 0.2 per cent to their market share to 11.6 per cent and 16.1 per cent respectively.