In an update for the three month period ending 31 March 2020, the supermarket said it experienced a surge in demand for home shopping deliveries, with Asda.com receiving more than 3,500 visits per minute during the week commencing 18 March.
However, it added it had seen a “significant decline” in demand for non-essential items, such as fashion, fuel and general merchandise and was required to close 33 of its Living Stores in March in response to government guidance on non-essential retail.
The supermarket also saw its smaller stores “perform strongly” as customers preferred to shop locally and avoid travel during the early weeks of lockdown.
Roger Burnley, CEO and president, said: “It has become increasingly clear that Covid-19 is set to be part of our lives for months to come and we know that customers have moved on from an initial worry about the virus, to more longer term concerns about the implications of lockdown on their family, wellbeing and finances.
“And, as more people return to work, they are juggling the demands of cooking more and having less time to shop for groceries. Our latest income tracker data shows that household incomes declined 0.6% in March, the first drop since 2017 and 90% of customers told us they are worried about a depression in the economy.”
He added: “Whilst safety is still a major focus for customers, three quarters tell us they are also increasingly concerned about the price of groceries and are looking for value – and we can reassure them that Asda will meet their needs on both.
“However long Covid-19 is with us, we will continue to offer great value to customers, as well as investing in doing the right things to protect our customers, our colleagues and our communities – and fulfil our vital role in feeding the nation.”
Asda added that with around two thirds of customers “still concerned” about safety in supermarkets, it is investing in “more longer term measures” to support social distancing in its stores, including trialling a ‘virtual queueing’ solution at its Middleton store near Leeds, which allows customers to ‘log in’ to the queue remotely and wait in their car to enter the store.