Asda sales fall over Christmas due to ‘cautious’ customer spending

Asda has said that sales slipped lower over the crucial Christmas trading period as customers remained “cautious” with their spending.

The supermarket chain said like-for-like sales declined by 1.3% in the three months to December, compared with the same period the previous year.

It said it was “impacted by challenging market conditions, particularly in clothing” during the period, but was bolstered by a more stable performance by its core food business.

Clothing sales declined as it was weighed down by a reluctance among shoppers to spend heavily amid the period of political uncertainty, it said.

The retailer said that while disposable income remained stable, growth slowed as customers “remain highly budget-conscious”.

Asda clothing
Asda said clothing sales were particularly impacted by customer caution (Asda/PA)

Roger Burnley, Asda’s chief executive and president, said: “We know that our customers’ mindsets during the quarter were cautious and whilst customers were enthusiastic for Christmas, they were more mindful in their spending – with many choosing to pare back gift lists and focus presents on kids rather than adults and extended family.”

Asda said it saw “continued progress” regarding its price-focused strategy as it attempts to fend off pressure from its German discounter rivals Aldi and Lidl.

Mr Burnley said: “We continued to improve our price position versus the previous quarter, and year on year, whilst our trusted combination of great value and quality ranges with a touch of Asda personality resonated strongly with customers.

“We’re ambitious to deliver even more for customers in 2020 and have entered the year with an even sharper focus on driving forward our strategy, which is anchored in saving our customers time as well as money.”

The retailer said online sales were particularly strong, with home delivery revenues increasing 10.3% against the same quarter in the previous year.

Asda said it also benefited from investment in its stores, with seven stores refurbished during the quarter, while it also launched trials with new concession partners such as Sushi Daily and Claire’s Accessories.

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