Asda has reported its like for like sales (excluding fuel) fell by 9.2% to £4.64bn in the period from 1 January to 31 March 2022 (Q1), compared to the “exceptional” period of Q1 2021, when the UK’s third national lockdown resulted in more meals being consumed at home.
Overall, the supermarket’s like-for-like food sales declined 7% year-on-year, due to a shift back into eating out of home following the easing of lockdown measures.
Asda said the step back in sales was more strongly felt in clothing (19.3%) and general merchandise (23.7%) as sales in Q1 2021 benefitted from the closure of non-essential retail.
The decline in sales comes amid the drop in disposable household income by £161.52 per month in April 2022. Asda’s latest Income Tracker revealed that households’ disposable income dropped by £40.38 per week year-on-year in April, the largest fall since the tracker was created in 2008, with income for those under 30 and over 75 “significantly” impacted.
Meanwhile, Asda has appointed Ken Towle as retail director, with responsibility for running the supermarket’s 640 stores. Towle has over 30 years retail experience with Tesco and more recently as CEO of Nisa. Asda also confirmed Michael Gleeson will be joining the supermarket next year as chief financial officer.
Additionally, Asda has invested over £90m in expanding its new Just Essentials value range and Dropping and Locking the price of over 100 products until the end of the year.
The supermarket also continues to expand the trial of its Asda Rewards loyalty programme, which is now live in 48 stores and it has opened 35 Asda on the Move stores, with the most recent site opening yesterdaY (26 May) in Ashington, Northumberland.
Mohsin Issa, Asda co-owner, said: “We are investing in helping our shoppers manage the challenges of the here and now, as well as progressing critical strategic initiatives including loyalty, convenience and enhancing our in-store offering, which will all deliver long-term value.
“We are very pleased to have Ken onboard and look forward to welcoming Kris in a few weeks and Michael next year. They are great additions to our strong team and will bring a combination of experience and new thinking into the business at a time when we are focussed on doing all we can to help customers during these exceptionally tough times.”