Asda has outlined a multichannel strategy built around strengthening its store proposition, developing trusted online sales and a low-cost operating model in full-year figures out this week that show sales falling by 3% and profits down by a fifth.
Asda Group figures, filed to Companies House this week, showed revenues of £21.7bn for the year to December 31 2016, 3% down on the previous year, while pre-tax profits came in at £791.7m, 19% down from £974.9m a year earlier.
The retailer said that its sales performance was behind its expectations in a low growth market of “intense competition” but that in the final quarter of the year it saw sales improve following investments to price and services. Here’s what the multichannel retailer, an Elite trader in IRUK Top500 research, said about its multichannel strategy.
Asda says that it invested in cutting prices for everyday favourites, and on improving the range and quality of own-brand products while reducing duplication within its range “to create a simpler shopping experience for customers.” It said customer service was a priority, with investment to improve the experience both in stores and online.
The retailer also opened eight new stores in 2016, including four superstores and four supermarkets.
The retailers said improvements to its website, mobile and tablet apps had made it easier and faster for its customers to buy online.
Meanwhile, it said, its Asda low-cost operating model had seen operations become more efficient, “delivering productivity savings across stores, home shopping, distribution centres and home offices.” Looking the future, it said, “we remain focused on helping our customers to save money and live better through finding new ways to improve our offer in store and online. Through the low cost operating model we continue to generate cost savings which enable us to invest further in price, quality and service to customers.”
It added: “Whilst customer discretionary income is slowly rising, the consumer environment continues to be challenging as customers remain cautious in their spending habits. We expect conditions to remain tough for our customers, with price being a key consideration.” And it said: “In the highly competitive retail industry, success depends on satisfying changing customer needs more effectively than the competition.”