Today Asda unveiled its second-quarter trading figures. The numbers, headlined by a 0.5% increase in like-for-like sales, reflect a slight improvement on the previous three-month period.
While profits are down thanks to a £19m bill for converting Netto stores to its lime-green livery, Asda is confident the investment will start to pay off soon. Footfall is up by 60% across the 61 stores it has already overhauled, it said, with the conversion plan “on time, on track, on budget and delivering to both the top and bottom line”.
While Andy Clarke has sent mixed signals over a bid for Iceland – he fancies some of the stores, but played down talk of a bid for the whole thing – it’s clear the chain is looking to smaller-format stores for future growth (as is its US parent, via the new Walmart Express fascia).
Clarke yesterday unveiled plans to open an additional 150 smaller stores over the next few years, on top of the 100 previously announced.
Elsewhere, this morning’s Financial Times reported that Asda “intends to emphasise low prices in the run-up to Christmas”. It’s interesting timing for that revelation. New figures from Kantar today showed it’s premium own-label, rather than budget lines, doing the best business.
The last thing Asda needs is to repeat the mistakes of Christmas 2009.