Asda is pinning its turnaround hopes on a woman called Sue, who it believes represents huge swathes of shoppers who have been turned off the supermarket in the past few years.

It unveiled its war plan to stem its downturn and make Asda "the fastest growing retailer in the UK" this week as president Andy Bond and senior management presented their five-year vision to US investors.

A number of initiatives were announced to get Asda's growth back on track, including a total overhaul of its entire own label food ranges to force customers to reappraise its offer, having quality food that matches Sainsbury, launching self-scanning checkouts in 225 stores, extending George into homewares, being more flexible in its approach to formats and regaining control of the price agenda with even more aggressive price cuts this year.

As part of this strategy, chief operating officer David Cheesewright outlined plans to boost supplier-funded promotions and "tap into vendors" through its 'Buy for less' programme.

The announcement coincided with reports that Asda had been demanding huge upfront payments from suppliers to guarantee their business.

The turnaround strategy is based on the largest piece of research ever undertaken by Asda, said Bond. It identified a middle group of people, which sits between Asda fans who love it for price and George - and those who were disenfranchised.

"We've called this group Sue," declared Bond. "She's the person in the middle."

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