Asda was the worst performing major supermarket by a long margin over the past three months, heaping further pressure on beleaguered chief executive Andy Clarke.
Sales at Leeds-based Asda fell 5.1 per cent in the 12 weeks to May 22, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Sales at Tesco fell one per cent year on year, Sainsbury’s was down 1.2 per cent and Morrisons dropped 2.1 per cent.
This was a good showing for Bradford-based Morrisons as the fall was due to store closures and will provide a boost for chief executive David Potts and his new management team.
Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Morrisons still have their shoppers.
“They have in-store excitement and theatre. Their reputation is that they’re close to farmers and producers.”
He added that Morrisons’ decision to stop price matching against discounters Aldi and Lidl has not harmed the group.
“Morrisons have always had a reputation as a good, solid grocer with a gritty, value for money approach. There is a remaining loyalty among shoppers for Morrisons.”
He said that Asda’s decision to market itself on price has failed to boost sales.
“Banging on about price isn’t going to help Asda. Price has been usurped as a topic by Aldi and Lidl,” said Mr Garner.
“Asda needs to concentrate on what Aldi and Lidl can’t do – the wide selection it sells and the store size. These are weaknesses at Aldi and Lidl.
“Asda still has shoppers going through its doors, but it’s not good. They haven’t been that hot on pricing and usually they’re quite keen.”
Aldi increased sales by 11.4 per cent and Lidl sales rose 14.2 per cent, although this was boosted by the two groups’ ambitious store opening programmes.