Supermarket giant Asda has posted a 0.1 per cent fall in comparable sales in the fourth quarter (Q4) in 2013, the first fall in three years.
CEO Andy Clarke said he was “under no illusions” as to the structural changes facing the UK grocery market but maintained Asda would play “the long game” with investment choices.
“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,” he said.
In 2014 the grocer will invest £750m in opening news stores, store extensions and refurbishments.
At the end of last year, Asda set out its six strategic priorities to redefine value retailing in the UK over the next five years. The strategy centres on improving the core business, extending Asda‘s reach and expanding the brand into new markets.
The retailer will achieve this by investing £1bn in lowering prices and £250m in physically developing stores and rolling out over 1000 Click and Collect locations. It also plans to increase physical access to its brand from 53 per cent to 70 per cent by 2018.
Tesco, Sainsbury‘s, Morrisons and Asda all lost market share in 2014 while Aldi and Lidl grew sales by 30.7 per cent and 15.5 per cent in Q4 according to Kantar.
Speaking at an event in London this morning CMO Barry Williams explained Asda‘s decision to move away from vouchering activity in 2013 and accused retailers of using vouchers to cover up price hikes “That‘s not a game we are interested in playing with our customers‘ hard earned money,” he said.
The latest Asda Income Tracker for January points towards the first signs of a pick-up in pay growth. For the fourth consecutive month UK household spending power has increased, now up by £3 compared to the same time last year.