Asda reiterates its focus on driving growth where customers care as it reports fourth quarter trading

Today, Walmart has published its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 including financial results for its UK business, Asda, for the period 1st October to 31st December 2019.

Over the period, the supermarket posted a 1.3% decline in like-for-like sales excluding petrol.
Whilst overall performance in the quarter was impacted by challenging market conditions – particularly in clothing – the supermarket’s core food business proved more stable and the period saw continued progress in Asda’s strategy of winning on price, delivering an easy shopping experience and growth where customers care.

Commenting on performance in the quarter, Asda CEO and President Roger Burnley said; “We continued to improve our price position versus the previous quarter, and year on year, whilst our trusted combination of great value and quality ranges with a touch of Asda personality resonated strongly with customers.

“Extra Special sales in the quarter grew ahead of the market and up 5% YoY. We were delighted to receive 92 ‘Quality Food and Drink Awards in the quarter, including the prestigious retailer of the year, whilst also retaining our value credentials with the Grocer 33 best value Christmas basket for the 7th year in a row.

“Our home shopping operation continued to deliver double-digit growth in the fourth quarter– up 10.3% YoY – and we continue to innovate in this area. During the quarter we rolled out Same Day Delivery to 284 stores and trialled a ‘one hour Click and Collect’ service in two shops. Following positive customer feedback, this service is being extended across the chain from today – helping our customers save even more time in their busy lives.

“We know that our customers mind sets during the quarter were cautious and whilst customers were enthusiastic for Christmas, they were more mindful in their spending – with many choosing to pare back gift lists and focus presents on kids rather than adults and extended family. Our monthly Income Tracker showed that whilst disposable income remained stable at around £217 a week during fourth quarter, previously seen trends of growth are starting to slow and consumers remain highly budget conscious.

“We continue to develop our store proposition, maximising our space and testing new concepts for our customers. During the quarter we refreshed seven stores – including a £5m refurbishment of our Edinburgh Jewel store, which sees us working with new partners to further enhance our customer offer. Throughout the quarter we implemented trials with new partners including Sushi Daily and Claire’s Accessories in a number of stores, and this is an approach that we will continue to thoughtfully grow in 2020 as we deliver our partnerships strategy.

“As well as driving value, ease and innovation where customers care, we continued our commitment to creating change for better during the quarter, launching a new range of recyclable packaging for our steak range, which will eliminate 700 tonnes of plastic every year. Our ongoing partnership with Fareshare and Trussell Trust allowed us to provide meals for 270,000 people in December and we doubled our ‘Green Token Donations’ to £1m during the quarter, supporting over 1500 local charities with grants to support their local communities during the Christmas season.

“As ever, I am hugely grateful to our colleagues for their efforts for our customers this quarter and delighted that we have again been able to recognise hard work and will be paying a bonus to all our eligible colleagues later this month. We’re ambitious to deliver even more for customers in 2020 and have entered the year with an even sharper focus on driving forward our strategy, which is anchored in saving our customers time as well as money.”

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