Grocer Asda has seen like-for-like (LFL) sales grow 1.3 per cent in its first quarter, thanks to an investment in lowering prices on everyday essentials and implementing “revolutionary technology” to its UK operations, it h as been announced today.
Pledging “unwavering commitment” to delivering every day low prices, Asda President and CEO Andy Clarke highlighted the commitment to everyday low prices as the chain seeks to help cash-strapped consumers manage costs.
“We are unwavering in this commitment to low prices and will continue to invest to allow our customers to shop when, where and how they want safe in the knowledge that they will always get the best prices when they shop with Asda.”
Prior to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement in March, the supermarket launched its Price Lock initiative, highlighting its low price pledge to build on its Guarantee which promises to offer products at a lower price than competitors Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
Online sales leapt 16 per cent on the same period last year as the supermarket’s multichannel strategy bore fruit.
Last month, Asda unveiled plans to invest more than £700 million in its stores and online operations in response to shopper behaviour, creating some 2,500 jobs across the country over the year.
As it maximises its relationship with Walmart, which has faced criticism after refusing to sign the Safety Accord outlined for retailers following the Dhaka factory collapse last month, Asda now offers hybrid checkouts and is trialling ‘Scan and Go’ technology over the coming months.
Over the last quarter, the chain maintained its market position, reporting a market share of 17.9 per cent and Asda is currently the second largest online grocer in the UK, as a result of new initiatives such as George at Asda’s Click & Collect offering.
Click & Collect has proven so popular that the Walmart-owned retailer is set to introduce the service for grocery in almost 200 outlets by the end of the year while collection points in railway stations, motorway services and universities are under consideration.
Asda has opened two stores so far this year and intends to open an additional 10 by years end, including four new small format stores, five superstores and a non-food outlet.
Clarke welcomed the results in such a competitive environment, noting that the retailer’s lost-cost products are here to stay.
He concluded:“This represents a strong performance in what remains a very tough market.
“Despite a difficult environment for our customers, we have continued to achieve growth on growth by lowering the prices of essentials and investing in technology to make shopping more convenient.
“We’ve always been and will continue to be number one for unbeatable value.
“Low prices are who we are and are what drive real loyalty. They are not just a gimmick or an unsustainable or knee-jerk promotion.”