Asda claims a more strategic expansion of its click & collect service could prove a “cost-efficient alternative” to opening c-stores.
The retailer currently has two small forecourt stores in Sale and Leeds, and there has been speculation of further openings in London. Rival supermarket Tesco notably started its Tesco Express convenience model through petrol forecourt c-stores.
However, an Asda spokesman told The Grocer that though gaining a larger market share in London remains a “priority”, a traditional c-store format does not suit its business model.
He explained: “Asda offers the lowest prices for petrol so in theory forecourts would be a massive footfall driver to c-stores but petrol is a saturated market.
“At the moment we are able to keep to a smaller price model because we don’t have big stores in expensive areas click & collect is a way of bringing our single-price model to the centre of London.
“An Asda convenience model doesn’t have to be like Tesco Express. It could be a click & collect site at busy locations such as a park and ride or Tube station these are low cost ways of offering what a convenience store can offer at one cost.
“There are only 10 Asda stores within the M25 but just opening more isn’t the obvious answer.”
Rival supermarkets have been “incorrectly” assuming customers are primarily interested in home delivery, according to Jon Wragg, head of multichannel at Asda.
“Booking home delivery slots is not relevant to a large number of people,” he said. “We must provide them with opportunities to complete their shopping when they are on the move.”
Asda also revealed it was currently speaking to universities nationwide in a bid to gain a greater share of the student market.
The Grocer understands the retailer is currently in negotiations with a large number of universities to potentially trial click & collect vans and lockers at campuses.
“A big trend we’ve seen over the last 18 months is that when people go to university for the first time Asda stores see a big uptake in sales, so we must find ways to cater to that,” added the spokesman.
“I would be surprised if our chosen model for students wasn’t fully integrated across the country by the time the next intake of first-year students comes around.”
As part of its plans to bring click & collect to commuter routes, Asda currently has active trials at the Green Park business site in Reading and a park and ride in Nottingham, as well as a combination of lockers and vans at its two forecourt stores.