The Olympic Games “changed the shape of trading” after the UK shopped during the day but spent the evenings “glued to the TV”, according to Andy Clarke, who was speaking at Asda’s Q2 results where it announced a 0.7% boost in like for like sales.

Kantar Worldpanel figures for the four weeks to 5 August, which only include the first week of the Games, showed that Asda took a 1.9% dip in sales of food and drink.
But Clarke suggested the bigger picture was yet to emerge, not only for the second week of Olympic sales but also consumer confidence as a whole.

“The Olympics were a fantastic success for the country,” said Clarke. “In terms of shopping behaviour, you could see momentum gathering. We hope that continues, but it’s too early to assess whether that fantastic spirit will translate into sales.”

Asked whether he was worried by an apparent turnaround at Tesco, which saw sales of food and drink jump 1.7% over the same period, Clarke insisted he had confidence in Asda’s EDLP strategy.

“Whatever Philip Clarke decides to do, he will do,” said Clarke. “That’s his business. I’m going to focus on mine. And our customers are telling us they love what we are doing - which is running a sustainable EDLP business.

“The Grocer 33 survey demonstrates that week in week out - it shows us running the lowest number of promotions as well as the lowest prices. I’m not going to comment on what others are doing to drive short-term traffic, but anybody can buy sales. We are pleased with our continued performance and the recent overall 12 week Kantar data.”