July 21, 1990. Nearly everything went wrong for Asda over the past year. Non-food sales were hit by a decline in consumer demand; the profit contribution from 25% owned Allied Maples and MFI nosedived; borrowings on the £704m acquisition of 61 Gateway superstores were affected by high interest rates; and there were start-up problems in central distribution. The outcome was a sharp fall in pretax profit in the 12 months to April 28 from £246.6m to £180.3m on sales up from £2.71bn to £3.55bn. Chairman John Hardman is reasonably confident that results will improve. The City does not appear to share this opinion. {{COUNTERPOINT}}

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