Asda sales edge down 0.7% in third quarter
Asda has seen its third quarter like-for-like sales edge down 0.7% year-on-year, although sales remained resilient on a two-year basis with growth of 2%.
In its quarterly trading update, the supermarket said the year-on-year decline in the three months to 30 September compares to a time when sales were boosted by ongoing social distancing restrictions, which resulted in more meals being consumed at home.
Asda said the lockdown trend of customers treating themselves to premium own-label products continued in the period which led it to add more than 200 new products to its ‘Extra Special’ range.
Demand for online groceries softened slightly in the period, with sales down by 2.7% on the same time last year as more customers returned to shopping in-store. However, online sales were 80% up compared to two years ago. The supermarket enhanced its online offering with the launch of a one-hour ‘Express Delivery’ service in June and expanded its rapid delivery partnership with Uber Eats to more than 300 stores.
Looking at like-for-like clothing sales, these were up 1.2% year-on-year in the quarter as Asda’s back-to-school range proved to be particularly popular with customers. However, like-for-like general merchandise sales were down 3.1%.
In a call with investors, Asda said it was successfully navigating the industry-wide supply chain challenges. The supermarket has been increasing the volume of turkeys and pigs in blankets in store compared to last year, as well as building extra stock of festive products in depots such as mince pies, Christmas cakes and puddings. In addition, it has chartered its own cargo ship to protect the availability of key festive products including festive decorations, toys, clothing and gifts.
Looking ahead, Mohsin Issa and Zuber Issa said: “Our plans to rollout Asda on The Move remain firmly on track and will open up significant growth opportunities in the convenience channel. We are also highly encouraged by the early uptake of our Asda Rewards loyalty programme and look forward to bringing this trial to customers in more stores next year.”
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