Asda's former trading and marketing director Angela Spindler launched the supermarket's local sourcing showcase event in London yesterday, which was one of her first jobs in her new role as customer and strategy director.

Spindler took up her new role on Monday as former logistics director David Cheesewright, who has been on a 12-month secondment as chief operating officer at Wal-Mart in Canada, made his UK comeback as chief operating officer and trading director.

Spindler said: "I am really looking forward to my new role. It's all about understanding the customers' needs better and making sure we, as a business, are focusing on that."

And she said: "When markets are tough, it's very easy to get distracted by commercial and cost challenges but that's not the formula to success. Customer needs have to stay at the top of our agenda."

And Spindler said that the local sourcing initiative was hugely important for Asda as it helped create a point of difference and because 70% of customers said that they wanted to buy local products.