ASDA has shrugged off continuing tough consumer pressures to post a 1.3 per cent rise in first-quarter like-for-like sales, powered like its main rivals by a robust online performance.
However, as Sainsbury’s and Tesco have also performed strongly recently, it has left Britain’s second-biggest supermarket business with an unchanged market share of 17.9 per cent.
Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda, which is owned by Walmart of the US, said yesterday: “The disposable income in families’ purses continues go go down. Households remain increasingly challenged.”
Clarke said Asda had responded with its Every Day Low Prices (EDLP) campaign, which promises its prices will be 10 per cent below its rivals.
He said this was a more sustainable offer, and more valuable to customers, than the “voucher” promotions of the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which he branded “a gimmick”.
Asda’s online sales in the 14 weeks to 12 April jumped 16 per cent. Richard Mayfield, the group’s chief financial officer, said “click and collect” groceries were now available in 100 of the company’s 568 stores, and that this would rise to 200 by the end of 2013. Click and collect for the group’s George clothing line and general merchandise is already in all its stores.
As an example of Asda’s low-pricing appeal to consumers in difficult times, Clarke said the group had invested far more in products selling for 50p or £1. “Low prices are who we are and are what drive real loyalty,” he said. Clarke added that “leveraging” the scale and buying power of its Walmark parent had also played its part in delivering costsavings.
Retail director Mark Ibbotson said Asda had an “obsession” with efficiencies, and had saved £1bn over the past five years.