Disparity in the UK is widening according to Asda chief executive, Andy Clarke. He reports that shoppers in south east England are far more willing to spend on food shopping than those in the Northeast and Northern Ireland.
Quarterly figures show that Asda is winning the price war with Morrisons and Tesco, edging past them with a 0.5% increase in like-for-like sales in the second quarter of 2014.
Mr. Clarke is quick to point out the disparities between the north and the south. “It feels very different in London than in Northern Ireland or the northeast. If you’re a family on a budget in those difficult regions, it still feels very challenging out there.”
Asda enjoyed a 0.14% increase in market share during the second quarter. The supermarket giant is the second largest in the UK, behind Tesco and just ahead of Sainsbury’s. It is the only supermarket of the big four in the UK which is currently gaining market shares and sales. In contrast, Asda’s parent company, Walmart have just disclosed details of a disappointing performance in the US with a reduced profit forecast for the year.
Walmart’s profits will likely take a further hit with the introduction of President Obama’s healthcare reforms. Chief Executive of the chain, Doug McMillon admitted that trading had been “challenging” in recent years. “We need to see stronger comp (comparable sales) in Walmart US and Sam’s Club, but both reported flat comp sales.
Britain is one of Walmart’s largest overseas markets. Despite the tough climate, Asda is performing better than it’s competitors including discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. Just as their advertising campaigns simply state, the company has moved away from promotional offers and loyalty cards in favour of “everyday low prices”. Asda’s chief executive said he was keen to abandon pricing gimmicks and concentrate on permanent low prices. He added “We’re pleased with our market share growth during the quarter.”
Asda also said that it’s clothing line, George, has been performing very well. Boosted by strong sales of school uniforms, it is now the second best selling range in the UK behind only Primark.
According to public figures listed at Companies House, Asda bosses received £800,000 less in salary and £600,000 less in bonuses from shares. The biggest hit by the cuts was the boss himself, Andy Clarke, who saw his salary including share payout reduced to £440,000.