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Asda’s like-for-like sales were up 3.4% in the quarter, from 1 January 2018 to 31 March

Asda CEO Roger Burnley today hailed the “genuine momentum” in the business going into its proposed merger with Sainsbury’s, as it reported a fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth.

Asda’s like-for-like sales were up 3.4% in the quarter, from 1 January 2018 to 31 March, although the figures were boosted by Easter falling within the period.

Adjusting for Easter like-for-like sales grew 1%, with Burnley crediting its major investment in price cuts under its Rolled Back Staying Back strategy.

Asda reported 8.3% like-for-like growth in online grocery sales in the period, while sales soared by 21.9%.

“Our Q1 performance - even when adjusted for increased sales from an early Easter - represents genuine momentum with four consecutive quarters of growth,” said Burnley.

“During the first three months of the year, we continued to invest sensibly where it matters most to our customers with lower prices, innovation in our own brand and further improving their shopping experience whether in store or online.

“Through Q1, we again stepped up our commitment to everyday low prices with the launch of Rolled Back Staying Back, which now extends to 667 lines that customers buy the most. We also launched 216 new own brand products including adding 29 to Free From, a range that is increasingly important to our customers.

“We attracted 246,000 new customers to our stores in the quarter and made shopping with us online for groceries, where sales grew 8.3%, even more convenient with the introduction of voice ordering via Google Assistant.

“Whilst we are not complacent, we are positive about our growing momentum and excited by the opportunity that our proposed merger with Sainsbury’s offers to accelerate our successful strategy and go further, faster.”

Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon claimed staff at Asda were excited about the opportunities of its proposed merger with Sainsbury’s, which is facing a landmark investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

“Recently, we took some strategic actions to further position our portfolio for long-term growth,” he said. “We were pleased with the response of our colleagues in the UK following our announcement of the proposed merger of Asda with Sainsbury’s. We believe this proposed combination is good for customers and colleagues as well as shareholders. In the UK, we saw sequential improvement in the business as comp sales increased for the fourth consecutive quarter. We continue to remain focused on improving customer experience in our stores and providing value for customers by investing in lower prices.”