Asda has reported bleak quarterly sales figures, after a Christmas season in which it opted out of the Black Friday discounting that it helped to introduce to the UK. It has also announced that it is consulting on head office jobs as a result of changing shopper behaviour. Up to 300 jobs are reported to be under threat.
Reporting like-for-like sales down by 5.8% for the 13 weeks to 1 January, it seems that Asda’s decision to opt out of Black Friday to instead invest in a range of offers throughout the Christmas season has cost the supermarket dear. This is the sixth quarter fall in a row. Reports put two percentage points of Asda’s sales decline down to its own price cuts, and a further 0.4 percentage points as a result of its decision to withdraw from Black Friday. The retailer also lost out as shoppers opted to buy with discounters instead.
Commenting on the changes to the UK grocery sector, Asda Chief Executive and President Andy Clarke said:
“The UK retail market is continuing to undergo significant and permanent structural change, competition in our sector has been fierce and our market share has come under pressure.”
He added: “In that context, our results for the year have been commendably stable, balancing investment in our customers with disciplined financial management in a period when many of our competitors have suffered severe falls in profitability. We have steered a careful course through this very turbulent period for the industry and through a complex set of challenge.”