Asda reports slower growth
Asda has reported its fourth consecutive '‹increase in sales'‹,'‹'‹ although like-for-like sales rose just 0.5 per cent in the last three months of 2017.
In November, the Leeds-based group reported a 1.1 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the three months to September 30.
Asda said the latest figures show its improving performance in the market, following reports in January that Asda was the only one of the big four supermarkets to hold its market share in December.
Roger Burnley, who took the helm as Asda’s president and CEO in January, said: “Our colleagues should be proud of this performance, which is testament to their hard work during the all-important Christmas trading period.
"Last year, we really improved our offer for customers – combining great product innovation with a focus on value and an easy shopping experience.
"Products like our Asda mince pies really appealed to customers with their great taste, value and being suitable vegan friendly, helped attract over 348,000 new customers to our stores in December and meant we were the only one of the big four to retain our market position."
He said the supermarket chain is "absolutely focused" on doing the right things for customers to accelerate momentum and build trust.
"Be that through an increased focus on Every Day Low Prices with the launch of Rolled Back Staying Back, continued innovation in our own brands, the way we make it easier for customers to shop with us or the way we support our communities," he said.
"We’ve already made some really strong commitments to reduce our use of plastics and to support Fareshare and The Trussell Trust in our fight against food poverty – and we will continue to act on the issues that matter to our customers.”
Parent company Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon said: "We’re pleased to see customers responding to our investments in the value proposition through improved in-store experience scores and the strengthening of our private brand and online grocery offerings. We know we have more work to do in the UK, however we are encouraged by recent results in key areas of our business.”
Asda's net sales rose 2.0 per cent in the three months to December 31, down from 3.6 per cent growth in the three months to September 30.
The latest data from Kantar Worldpanel showed improving sales at Asda with sales growth of 2.2 per cent in the 12 weeks to January 28.
Kantar Worldpanel said Asda encouraged shoppers to add extra items to their baskets and the grocer particularly saw strong growth in the alcohol, frozen and chilled aisles.
The firm is battling against stiff competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl, which are around 15 per cent cheaper than Asda, which is frequently the cheapest of the big four grocers.