Asda, Scotland’s second-biggest food retailer, has jolted the embattled supermarket industry with its worst-ever quarterly sales performance.
The chain – owned by US retail major Wal-Mart – reported a 7.5 per cent slump in same-floorspace sales in the second trading quarter.
It was Asda’s eighth successive quarter of declining revenues and a worsening of the 5.7 per cent fall seen in the previous three months.
Supermarket sector analysts said it put into stark relief the challenge facing new Asda chief executive Sean Clarke, who took over from namesake and previous boss Andy Clarke on 11 July.
Saying yesterday that he was “getting under the skin of the business,” Clarke added: “Although Asda is in the midst of a very challenging period, there is no doubt in my mind the culture that has always been at the heart of our success is still there.
“We’ve also started one of the biggest journeys of reinvention in our history to further build on our strong offer and I feel positive about the future.”
Dubbed Project Renewal, the plan to revive Asda’s fortunes involves reduced prices through a previously announced £1.5 billion investment, job cuts and improved ranges.
Wal-Mart boss Doug McMillon said yesterday that he was addressing the decline in the UK subsidiary’s sales with “urgency”. He said: “In the UK the competitive environment and food deflation continued to challenge the market.”