Asda sales growth slows

Comment on this story
Asda REUTERS A shopper walks past an Asda superstore in south London, August 13, 2009.

London - Asda, the British arm of US retailer Wal-Mart, said underlying sales growth had slowed in the fourth quarter of its financial year as consumers tightened spending.

Britain's second-biggest supermarket chain behind Tesco said on Thursday that sales at stores open for more than a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, were up 0.1 percent in the 14 weeks to January 5, its fiscal fourth quarter.

That followed a third-quarter rise of 0.3 percent.

Britain's grocers are finding growth hard to come by, despite their focus on essential goods, as consumers fret over job security and a squeeze on incomes.

Last month Tesco posted a 1.8 percent rise in like-for-like sales for the six weeks to January 5, against a weak figure in the previous year. Sainsbury's, the No. 3 grocer, reported a 0.9 percent rise in like-for-like sales for its third quarter to January 5, while No. 4 player Morrisons saw like-for-like sales fall 2.5 percent in the six weeks to December 30.

The grocers have also been battling to restore consumers' trust after becoming embroiled in a horsemeat scandal that is still spreading across Europe.

Last week Asda found horse DNA in a beef Bolognese sauce. It withdrew the product from sale, along with three other beef-based products produced by supplier Greencore.

The performance of Asda, which trades from 555 UK stores serving more than 18 million shoppers a week, reflects its focus on low prices for key commodities such as bread, milk and eggs, as well as revamped fresh-food lines and increased penetration of own-brand ranges.

The company has also benefited from its price guarantee, offering to refund customers the difference, via a voucher, if an online price comparison website does not show their shopping is at least 10 percent cheaper than at a rival.

Asda's sales update was released as parent Wal-Mart posted a higher quarterly profit and raised its dividend payout on Thursday. - Reuters

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines