Asda full year profit & sales rise despite failed Sainsbury’s merger

Accounts filed at Companies House showed Asda’s full-year like-for-likes, profits and sales were up in 2018
Asda's operating profit of £803.2m was achieved on the back of £22.92bn in full-year revenue
// Asda saw its full year profit increase 9.2% in 2018 – the year it was unsuccessfully targeted for takeover by Sainsbury’s
// Companies House files show Asda’s full-year like-for-likes grew 1.6% in the year to December 31, 2018
// Revenue and pre-tax profit also saw increases

Asda booked an increase profits, sales and like-for-likes during a year it was unsuccessfully targeted for takeover by rival Sainsbury’s.

According to the Big 4’s annual statutory accounts filed at Companies House, operating profit increased 9.2 per cent year-on-year in the 52 week-period ending December 31 – a dramatic improvement on the 13 per cent decline recorded the year prior.

The operating profit of £803.2 million was achieved on the back of £22.92 billion in full-year revenue, an uptick of 2.1 per cent year-on-year.

Asda’s rate of revenue growth was also better than the 0.8 pert cent growth recorded in 2017.

Like for like sales, excluding fuel and VAT, increased 1.6 per cent year-on-year – an improvement on the 0.5 per cent increase recorded the year before.

Meanwhile, pre-tax profit jumped 12.9 per cent year-on-year to £804.9 million and net cashflow from operating activities was £1.29b billion.

The figures cover the performance of Asda’s stores, distribution centres and online operations including food, clothing and general merchandise.

Asda credited its results to a continued focus on targeted price investments, further development in own-brand product quality and range, and lower prices across key customer-favourite lines to help mitigate the impact of food inflation.

The grocery giant also said online sales grew ahead of the market in 2018 following developments to its website, mobile and tablet apps.

Last year was also the year Sainsbury’s launched a £12 billion takeover bid for Asda, which was ultimately blocked by the CMA this year in April – a full year after it was launched.

Walmart, the US-based retail giant that owns Asda, said in May it would now look at an initial public offering for Asda.

Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said at the time that  the timescale for a possible flotation was two to three years.

Last month, Asda reported a 0.3 per cent like for like sales decline for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year, noting the challenges facing shoppers in the current climate.

“The challenges faced in the market during 2018 have only intensified as we move through 2019 and we remain steadfast in our approach to win on price, deliver a consistent customer experience and drive growth where customers care,” Asda chief financial officer Rob McWilliam said.

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