While Asda’s second quarter like-for-like sales saw a decline of 4.7%, CEO Andy Clarke has declared that he is “here to stay”. The sales decline accelerated from a 3.9% like-for-like fall in the first three months of the year, the grocer’s biggest sales fall in five years.
Clarke presented the company’s results on Tuesday as “unprecedented”, yet said the supermarket was already seeing “green shoots” in its third quarter.
“We continue to navigate a steady course through the worst storm in retail history, despite another challenging quarter,” said Clarke.
“Predicting that 2015 was going to be a volatile year I didn’t expect to report a positive sales figure, but I’m not distracted by the short-term picture. We have an enviably stable business with balanced books and the right strategy to return us to sales growth.” he added.
Alex Russo, Asda’s Chief Financial Officer announced that second quarter profits at the supermarket were largely flat in comparison to profit declines at the other Big Four grocers.
“Behind the negative sales number lies a more positive story for Asda,” he said. “We are maintaining balance in an impulsive market and performing solidly in growth channels, maximising and accelerating our areas of strength while addressing areas of underperformance.”
Asda will continue to work on its five-year plan which began in 2013 to slash prices by £1bn.
“We remain firmly committed to narrowing the price gap to the discounters,” Clarke said.
The Big Four grocer retains the support and understanding of US partner company Wal-Mart who also recently reported earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.