Ugo CEO Arthur Harris has insisted the performance of his discount supermarket chain is on the up despite continuing speculation that sales are as much as 50% down on Netto figures.
Ugo was launched in January this year when Harris acquired 20 former Nettos from Asda. The stores were all converted to the new Ugo fascia and opened in May.
However, since Harris’s other supermarket chain Haldanes collapsed into administration in June this year, speculation has been rife that Ugo had lost the confidence of suppliers. Stock levels are reported to be low and there has been a sharp reduction in the number of promotions advertised in its regular leaflets, which were 24 pages but are now typically between four and six pages.
Users on a forum set up by former Haldanes staff have claimed sales are down by 40% to 50%, while another source told The Grocer the volume of goods into stores had “declined”.
Harris admitted there had been a dip in sales but claimed they had recovered. “In line with our expectations, sales did reduce over the summer holiday period,” he told The Grocer. “However, sales are now increasing week-on-week. If you pay a visit to any of our Ugo stores you will find that they are all fully stocked with a large number of extremely competitive discount lines.”
He refused to comment on whether issues with IT and ordering had now been sorted and whether “major fixes”, which he said in June were due to be carried out, had been.
Last month, The Grocer revealed that Chris Laud had resigned as director and secretary of Ugo.