Fiona McLelland
Asda is seizing the initiative in the battle on price in a bid to retain the upper hand over arch rival Tesco.
The number two retailer was already following up its eighth successive Grocer 33 pricing survey win with a multi-million advertising campaign, including brand ambassador Sharon Osbourne shouting about the win on TV.
And it is now upping the ante by attempting to steal a march on Tesco’s high profile ‘value’ advertising push.
Latest press and billboard ads include flag ups for Scotch whisky at £6.86 and Asda Smart Price Lemonade at 17p in a ubiquitous ‘Britain’s lowest price’ campaign. Flat-screen televisions, meanwhile, are being advertised for less than £230.
Shore Capital retail analyst
Clive Black said: “If Asda stands for one thing, it’s lower prices and it can’t risk losing sight of that. Winning The Grocer 33’s pricing trophy for the eighth year is an ideal opportunity to reinforce that message.
“But Asda knows it needs more than price and the big challenge for Asda president Andy Bond is to generate stronger growth.
“It needs to attract new customers, so it will have to offer value in terms of quality and choice, where Tesco currently beats it hands down.”
Black added that Asda would also have to develop new store formats and continue growth in non-foods.
When Boots announced disappointing annual results last month, Asda responded with plans to give all 278 health departments a multi-million-pound makeover, on top of £12.6m of price cuts.
And this week, as another high-street rival, Dixons, announced that UK sales had slumped by 9% to £232.2m, Asda unveiled plans to slash the price of electrical goods. Dixons is feeling the pressure and is embarking on cost-cutting. The biggest book launch of the year is also getting the Asda treatment - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will be sold at £8.96 when it is released on July 16. is currently taking pre-orders for the book at the same price, compared with £9.99 at
Meanwhile, Asda is opening its ninth George standalone store in Norwich today (June 25) and store number 10 will open in Brighton this August. Another 50 new sites for George are on the cards.
Asda will also trial a new supermarket shopping centre store format when the new £30m Bouverie Place shopping centre in Folkestone, Kent opens next year.
The supermarket will be on one floor, with a George-fronted store directly beneath it.