Asda bws

Asda appears to have ditched its drastic range reduction strategy from 2021, with new figures compiled by The Grocer showing it added 12% more lines this year.

The supermarket giant told suppliers in April 2021 that it was planning on slashing up to 40% of SKUs ahead of the arrival of new owners the Issa brothers and TDR Capital, in a category transformation programme. Asda promised at the time that stores would move to a new model more akin to the discounters.

At the time, Asda’s range comprised 22,069 SKUs and by November 2021 it had removed 2,570 lines to bring the range down to 19,499. However, as of 28 November 2022 the number of SKUs at Asda had been restored to 21,810, an 11.9% year-on-year increase.

Certain categories saw even more significant growth in the number of SKUs. Petcare increased by 31.1% in the past year and bakery increased by 23.2%.

The expansion of the range came following the appointment of Kris Comerford, chief commercial officer for food, who joined the retailer in July. Of the 2,196 products added since November 2021, 1,813 were added since 4 July.

Ged Futter, director of The Retail Mind, said the original cuts in 2021 were “absolutely” a mistake.

“With a small range, any retailer is just an expensive discounter,” he said. “That’s what has happened with Asda. All you’re going to do there is annoy customers because you go into a large store expecting to find the range that’s interesting.”

An Asda spokesman said: “Over the last couple of years we reduced the size of our master range list – primarily to simplify ranges by removing duplication and to provide customers with the lowest possible prices on the products they buy the most.

“This was the right action to reduce duplication but we also recognise that there is a balance to strike around being first choice for customers when it comes to choice, value and quality.

“We’re rebalancing our ranges and reinvesting in growing key categories to enhance quality, choice and ultimately drive growth.

“We’re also working with branded suppliers to encourage innovation and bring new products and excitement back into our stores.”