Asda shows small decline in third-quarter results, but online business is strong

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Over the third quarter of 2019, supermarket Asda posted a 0.5% decline in like-for-like sales, according to Kantar Worldpanel data. Online grocery sales during the same period remained strong, with continued growth ahead of the market.

“In the UK, concerns over Brexit continue to negatively affect customer spending patterns," said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon commented on the UK market. "Comp sales improved sequentially compared with the Easter-adjusted comp from the second quarter … online grocery sales continue to be strong, roughly two times the growth of the overall market.”

Walmart chief finanical officer Brett Biggs added: “We’re continuing to manage through political and/or economic challenges that are affecting growth in several of our International markets, including the UK and Central America, which both had negative comps in the quarter. But overall, our operating fundamentals are improving.

Despite this challenging environment, the Asda team continues to drive operational and service improvements that are resonating with customers.”

Asda CEO and President Roger Burnley said that despite the rocky political and economic climate, "we have remained focussed on doing the right things for our customers. We continue to work hard to keep prices low for our customers as well as driving quality and improving our shopping experience. We have also invested in improving 15 stores this quarter, which has resulted in an improved overall customer experience.

Walmart and Asda officials cited a few positives besides its robust online business, namely its reduction of plastic used across its business, including moving its entire range of own-brand ready meals to recyclable packaging, removing plastic pots from our fresh growing herbs and introducing reusable fruit and veg bags. It also lauded its 
rollout of back-of-store food donations programme and reaching its goals of having donated more than one million meals to local charities.

“As we enter the busiest trading period of the year, I am confident that we are ready and raring to go and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to every one of our colleagues, who I know will pull out all the stops to make this Christmas extra special for our customers," Burnley said. "Whilst the retail sector continues to face challenges as a whole, I know that Asda is built on strong foundations.”

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