Asda slows its declining sales in the last quarter of 2016

Asda slows its declining sales in the last quarter of 2016

Asda, the third largest supermarket in the UK, managed to stem its declining sales at the end of last year, indicating the company’s performance is finally getting better.

The Walmart-owned supermarket saw a decline in sales for the three months to the end of December 2016 – the tenth consecutive quarter of decline – but the 2.9 per cent fall was an improvement on the 5.8 drop experienced in the previous quarter and the 7.5 per cent drop in the second quarter of last year.

The company has struggled in recent times to compete with the rest of the Big Four – Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Asda – as well as dealing with the emergence of discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl. However, the latest results indicate that the company’s fortunes could be set to change soon. Asda chief executive Sean Clarke, who took on the position last July to spearhead attempts at reversing the company’s decline, said: “We are putting customers first and have sharpened our prices, improved our ranges and availability, all with friendly service.”

Mr Clarke revealed that Asda gained more than 140,000 customers during the final quarter of 2016, after the company “sharpened” its prices and gave more attention to its own-brand ranges and product availability.

Meanwhile, Doug McMillon, Walmart chief executive, said: “In the UK, we have faced some challenges this past year, and we’re addressing this with urgency. I’m glad store sales improved during the fourth quarter, but we have a lot of work to do.”