Asda first quarter like-for-like sales up 3.5%
Asda has increased its first quarter like-for-like sales by 3.5% after trade was boosted by people stocking up in advance of the covid-19 lockdown.
In the latter part of the three months to 31 March, the supermarket experienced a surge in demand for home shopping deliveries with more than 3,500 visits per minute during the week commencing 18 March.
Although it saw an uplift in food sales, Asda said sales of fashion, fuel and general merchandise items all declined. In addition, the supermarket was forced to close 33 of its Living Stores in March in response to government guidance on non-essential retail.
Asda said its smaller stores performed particularly well in the period due to customers preferring to shop locally and avoid travel during the early weeks of lockdown.
Roger Burnley, chief executive and president of Asda said: “Reflecting on the last quarter – to March 31st feels a lifetime ago in the ever-changing landscape we find ourselves currently operating in. But, first and foremost I want to extend my absolute and heartfelt thanks to our colleagues who have risen to the challenge of this pandemic and served our customers so well in unprecedented circumstances.
“It has become increasingly clear that covid-19 is set to be part of our lives for months to come and we know that customers have moved on from an initial worry about the virus, to more longer term concerns about the implications of lockdown on their family, wellbeing and finances. And, as more people return to work, they are juggling the demands of cooking more and having less time to shop for groceries. Our latest income tracker data shows that household incomes declined 0.6% in March, the first drop since 2017 and 90% of customers told us they are worried about a depression in the economy.”
Asda has announced plans to invest in more longer term measures for social distancing in its stores, including the piloting of a virtual queuing system at its Middleton store near Leeds. This allows customers to ‘log in’ to the queue remotely and wait in their car to before entering the store.
The supermarket has also extended the capacity of its ‘Food Box’ delivery service for vulnerable customers to 10,000 boxes per day.
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