Asda like-for-likes down 3.9% in first quarter
Asda has reported that its like-for-like sales fell by 3.9% in its first quarter as its chief executive said that 2015 was proving to be the most challenging year yet for traditional supermarkets.
Speaking at an event in London, Andy Clarke said the supermarket remains committed to its five year strategy and will not “knee-jerk” at the expense of long-term profitability.
Clarke said: “This last quarter has been unprecedented. We have seen deflation in the market and exponential shifts in the industry. Although I still believe that 18 months ago we did a great job of predicting changes, we could not have foreseen what’s happened to others and the moves they have had to make in order to restore their business – creating an impact on us in the short-term.
“Whilst I take no pride in reporting a negative number, we are in a period of expected turbulence, not distress. We won’t buy short term sales at the expense of long term profitability. Throughout this period of change in our sector, Asda has been first to market with its response.
“Fundamentally, Asda remains a balanced, healthy sustainable business with a clear direction allowing us to hold our nerve and remain focused on delivering for our customers.”
During the quarter the supermarket increased its number of click and collect sites by 94% year-on-year to 611. It also opened 10 of its 15 petrol station acquisitions with all 15 due to launch by the end of July.
At the event, the supermarket announced that it will open the UK’s first intelligent Click and Collect pod in June on a major commuter belt in St Helen’s between Liverpool and Manchester. It will also launch its first London high street store trials by the end of the year in Deptford and Wealdstone.
Clarke added: “Despite signs of a real and sustainable economic recovery, 2015 is setting itself up to be the most challenging year yet for traditional supermarkets. Customers are not yet cash-confident, preferring to save rather than spend and, as expected, the market remains turbulent. Despite all this we remain a financially strong and balanced business, one which was first to market with our strategy. I’m fully committed to delivering long-term growth at Asda and focusing on giving customers what they want.”
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