Asda is putting its focus firmly on the customer as the supermarket regroups following the failure of plans to merge with Sainsbury’s.
Leaders of its Walmart parent company said in an earnings call that it was disappointed with the failure of the merger, after the Competition & Mergers Authority said it would not approve the deal - and there were also suggestions that Asda might be floated on the stockmarket.
Walmart chief executive and president Doug McMillon said: “We are disappointed that the proposed merger of Asda with Sainsbury’s isn’t happening because it would’ve been good for customers and the businesses. Asda continues to focus on delivering against our strategy and has built momentum in the business, which is impressive.”
Walmart chief financial officer Brett Biggs added, speaking the same call: "We were disappointed in the CMA’s decision in the UK. We’re focused on continuing to execute the strategy to strengthen Asda’s long-term success, including the potential of an IPO at some point in the future. We’ll be thoughtful and measured in our approach.”
The two were speaking as Asda figures showed that the supermarket’s online grocery sales grew by 10% in the first quarter of its financial year - but store sales appear to have fallen over the same period. Walmart said that Asda ecommerce grocery sales were up by 10% in the first quarter of its financial year, to March 31, although like-for-like sales fell by 1.1% over the same period. When the figures were adjusted to reflect Easter falling later in 2019 than last year, like-for-like sales were up by 0.5%, excluding petrol. Asda said that sales grew in double digits both on Asda.com and George.com
Roger Burnley, chief executive and president of Asda, said that its focus would continue regardless to be on the customer.
“Our strategy remains as it always has been – winning on price for customers, whilst delivering a consistent customer experience and investing in driving growth where customers care. Throughout the quarter we have continued to grow our online food and George businesses, as well as remove 6500 tonnes of plastic from our operations. We continue to consult with our colleagues on proposals to increase their base rate of pay, whilst ensuring we have the right people in the right place at the right time for customers.
“But what has got us here, won’t get us where we need to go – with the rate of change accelerating, we have a tough job to do and need to go even faster, and be even more innovative in the solutions we deliver for our customers.
Image courtesy of Asda