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Asda like-for-like sales slip by 0.1% in fourth quarter

Supermarket giant Asda has blamed a tough retail climate in the UK for a 0.1% drop in like-for-like sales in its fourth quarter.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Asda like-for-like sales slip by 0.1% in fourth quarter

The fall in sales comes despite the retailer seeing record online sales and footfall during the Christmas trading period.

For the 52 weeks to 3 January 2014, like-for-like sales edged up 0.5%.

Speaking at an event yesterday, Asda chief executive Andy Clarke said: “It will come as no surprise that 2013 was a tough year for UK retailers and there’s little doubt that the UK retail market is undergoing significant and permanent structural change. Though the economy is showing signs of recovery, it is still susceptible to shocks and the benefit is not yet being felt right across the country.”

He added: “We’re playing the long game and the decisions we’re taking now will ensure the long-term growth and health of our business and do the right things for our customers.”

Asda chief financial officer Alex Russo, who joined Asda in January from the Delosi Group, said the supermarket was executing its strategy with “agility and pace” and was already expanding its Click and Collect operation to 300 outlets and launching the new ‘George Home’ range.

This year Asda has committed to investing £200 million in lowering prices and £750 million in developing its estate as it look to expand its reach across the UK, particularly in the London and south east.

Asda chief merchandising officer Barry Williams outlined the rationale behind Asda’s move away from vouchering activity in 2013 saying: “Retailers are using vouchers to cover up price increases – what they are giving away with one hand, they are taking back with the other. That’s not a game we are interested in playing with our customers’ hard earned money.”

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