Late Easter boosts Asda’s Q2 sales despite Brexit uncertainty

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Asda Easter Q2 trading update Brexit Walmart Roger Burnley
The Big 4 grocer recorded a 0.5% increase in like-for-like sales during the 3 months to June 30
// Asda Q2 like-for-like sales up 0.5%
// Total sales grew 1.3%

Asda has recorded an increase in second-quarter sales, thanks to the late timing of Easter.

The Big 4 grocer recorded a 0.5 per cent increase in like-for-like sales during the three months to June 30, while total sales grew 1.3 per cent.

Asda recorded a 0.2 per cent dip in like-for-like transactions during the three-month period.

Gross profit and operating income also declined, though parent company Walmart declined to reveal exact figures.

The US giant added that “uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues to affect customers” in the UK.

Nevertheless, Asda has enjoyed seven consecutive quarters of growth under the reign of chief executive Roger Burnley and his predecessor Sean Clarke, before a 1.1 per cent decline in like for likes in its first quarter showed otherwise.

“Consumer confidence levels are at an almost six-year low – due in no small part to the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and amplified by the impact of weather and tracking against national sporting events in the same period last year,” Burnley said.

During the quarter, Asda said it focused launching 35 new vegan ranges and invested £22 million in refurbishing nine stores.

Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon said of Asda’s performance: “Our results for the quarter reflect the challenges faced by shoppers in this market as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues to loom. As the macro issues play out, we’ll continue to help customers navigate these times.

Moreover, Walmart is considering an IPO for Asda after the CMA blocked its proposed merger with Big 4 rival Sainsbury’s earlier this year.

Asda said it is aiming to grow its company, as it revealed last month that it was extending its tie-up with online food delivery company Just Eat to offer customers in Sutton and Leicester a 30-minute grocery home-delivery service.

However, Asda is currently facing backlash thanks to its retail poverty contract, as trade union GMB held a protest outside Asda Leeds house yesterday at noon to exploit the management team’s “bullying” tactics.

Burnley said: “Whilst I remain proud of our continued strategic focus in the quarter, I am under no illusions as to how challenging this market remains for all retailers – and that we must continue to maintain our relentless focus on delivering a consistently trusted experience for our customers and having the most efficient operating model possible.

“We continue to work through our contract changes with colleagues and whilst we recognise that change is always difficult, we continue to believe this is the right and necessary approach for us to take in order to remain a sustainable business that delivers for customers.”

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