Supermarket Asda has today reported a like-for-like sales increase of 0.3 per cent in its thirds quarter as it continues to grow ahead of the market.
In the 13 weeks to September 29th 2012, the Walmart-owned grocer saw its market share grow to 17.5 per cent, up ten basis points year-on-year.
“These are solid results in a tough market,” said Asda CEO and President Andy Clarke.
“I’m pleased we continue to strike the right balance in terms of delivering low prices, great quality and ubeatable service. That focus on real value is what our customers want.”
Although food prices continue to soar as a result of a poor harvest putting pressure on farmers earlier this year, Asda has held down the prices of everyday essentials such as bread, milk and eggs since July and recently reduced fuel prices by up to six pence per litre.
Clarke added: “Our latest income tracker out today shows that after a period of slight improvement disposable income is more or less flat again this month.
“So our continued investment in lowering the prices of the core commodities our customers need week in, week out, is more important than ever and means we can stretch their budgets a little bit further.”
Meanwhile, the supermarket’s multichannel arm has doubled in size in two years and is continuing to grow and Asda’s Chief Operating Officer Judith McKenna today reinforced it’s commitment to developing this side of the business.
Our strategy isn’t based on being the most ‘techy’ it’s focused on enabling customers to move seamlessly between the store and the web.
“We’re installing free Wi-Fi bringing the full benefits of the web into our stores and aggressively rolling out grocery click to allow customers the convenience of picking up their shopping at a time that suits them.”
A click & collect service will also be available in 100 locations by the end of the year, the grocer promised while enhancing its mobile offering is also set to be a key growth area in the coming months.
President and CEO of Walmart International Doug McMillon explained the importance of ensuring convenience for its cash-conscious customers.
“The U.K. had a solid third quarter in a very challenging market,” he said.
“As others have reported, U.K. consumers remain hard-pressed economically. Petrol prices remain a factor, with average fuel prices in the U.K. at £1.38 per litre.
“During the quarter, Asda maintained its commitment to EDLP, investing in price reductions of key food commodities to provide our customers with much-needed relief from inflationary pressures.”
Clarke agrees that the sector must work to reduce pressure on shoppers and has joined calls for a fuel duty freeze next year, noting that a 3 pence tax rise would come at the “worst possible time for families”.