LONDON Jan 6 Asda, the British arm of U.S.
grocer Wal-Mart Stores, said it enjoyed a good
performance at Christmas both in store and online.
The supermarket, battling with J Sainsbury to be
Britain's second largest grocer, is not scheduled to release its
trading figures for its fourth quarter until Feb. 20.
However, it said on Monday it was confident its strategy for
Christmas was the right one.
"Our strategy was to focus on gimmick-free, simple every day
low price transparency for our customers and to hold our nerve
when it came to the sales," it said.
"This was against the backdrop of many other retailers
vouchering heavily and starting their sales early, and resulted
in us seeing record footfall over the Christmas period."
Britain's big grocers traditionally cope better in tough
times thanks to their focus on essential goods. But with
consumers' disposable incomes still being squeezed by wage rises
not keeping up with inflation they are finding growth hard to
Market leader Tesco will update on the six weeks to
Jan. 4 on Thursday, while Sainsbury will report third-quarter
sales on Wednesday.
Tesco is forecast to report a fall in UK sales at stores
open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, of 0.5-2.5
percent, while Sainsbury's is expected to post like-for-like
sales in a range of flat to down 1 percent.
Asda said on Dec. 23 a record 4.8 million customers passed
through its 573 UK stores, and it also had its biggest ever
online Christmas, with grocery home shopping sales on Dec. 21
and Dec. 22 exceeding 5 million pounds ($8.2 million) for the
first and second time.
The firm also noted that 28 percent of grocery home shopping
sales were ordered through its smartphone app in December, while
mobile app sales were up over 200 percent on last year.
Asda said in November that over the next five years it would
invest 1 billion pounds in prices and 250 million pounds in
improving product quality, seeking to expand its 17 percent
share of the UK grocery market and counter the growing threat of
discounters Aldi and Lidl
Asda's third quarter like-for-like sales rose 0.3 pct.