Thursday 17 May 2012 8:09 pm

Asda market share up as it lures shoppers with price guarantee

ASDA, the British arm of supermarket giant Walmart, said it continued to gain market share in the first quarter of the year as its focus on low prices and a revamping of own-brand ranges helped drive sales growth. The UK’s second-biggest supermarket chain behind Tesco, said like-for-like sales excluding fuel and VAT accelerated in the 12 weeks to 31 March to 2.2 per cent, helped by strong growth in its core grocery division and childrenswear. This follows a rise of one per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. Recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed that Asda is growing faster than its main UK rivals and has now got a market share of just under 18 per cent. The supermarket also saw customer numbers increase 2.9 per cent, which it attributed to the success of its price guarantee scheme, which gives customers their money back if it fails to be 10 per cent cheaper than its rivals Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons or Waitrose. “Customers really valued our price leadership, the ongoing improvements in quality and our commitment to warm and friendly service,” chief executive Andy Clarke said. The group added three new stores in Worcester, Ramsgate and Tunsbridge Wells in the quarter, bringing the total number of stores it owns in the UK to 544. Meanwhile its parent company Walmart reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as more shoppers flocked to its US discount stores. Net income for the three months to 30 April surged 10 per cent to $3.74bn (£2.36bn) from $3.4bn a year earlier, helped by an earlier Easter and warmer weather.