Press Centre
  • Retailer invests further £27m in quality improvements across its fresh food business
  • Market-leading quality specifications introduced across all fresh meat and produce
  • Threefold increase in number of quality inspectors employed throughout supply chain
  • As a result, sales of key meat and fish lines have already increased significantly
  • Roll out complete of 6,500 ‘Chosen by you’ products following £100m relaunch
  • Asda’s mid tier brand now fastest growing own label range in UK (source: Kantar)
  • More than 325,000 independent blind taste tests completed by 53,000 representative UK shoppers in last 12 months

Asda announced today (Tuesday 17th May 2011) it was embarking on the next phase of its comprehensive quality investment programme after successfully completing the biggest-ever own label relaunch in UK retailing history.

As part of Asda’s strategy to deliver both value and quality to its customers, the supermarket is now investing a further £27m in enhancing quality across its fresh food business.

There are now three times as many quality assurance inspectors operating in Asda’s depots and supplier farms compared to a year ago, enabling the retailer to significantly increase the frequency of quality control checks in its supply chain.

Asda has also introduced market-leading butchery specifications on all its fresh meat, leading to improvements in taste, tenderness and succulence of key products like sirloin and rump steaks, pork loins and legs of lamb.

In addition, over the last 12 months the retailer has step changed the quality of its fresh produce business following the acquisition of International Produce Limited (IPL) by Walmart.

As a result Asda, through IPL, now has a team of more than 1,000 colleagues based in the UK and countries across the world from which it sources its produce. IPL has also recently extended its remit to Asda’s wine supply.

Andy Clarke, Asda President and CEO, said: "Having successfully completed the rollout of Chosen by you we are now embarking on the next phase of our quality programme. We are investing £27m introducing market-leading quality specifications across all of our fresh meat and produce.

“And through a combination of significantly more quality controls on our farms and in our depots, and by removing unnecessary middlemen along the way, we’ve been able to enhance the quality of our fresh food and keep prices low for customers.”

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Asda now also insists that all the cod and haddock sold on its fish counters and in pre pack, is line caught.

Not only is line caught fishing a more sustainable method as it reduces by-catch and discards, there are also significant quality improvements for customers. Line caught fish is whiter, firmer and ensures a more consistent quality than less sustainable trawler-based methods of fishing.

As a result of the move sales of smoked haddock portions are up by 58 percent, smoked cod fillets are up 43 per cent, smoked haddock loins are up 40 per cent, and undyed smoked haddock fillets are up 34 per cent.

This latest initiative is part of Asda’s ongoing strategy to drive as hard on quality as it continues to do on price. Last year the retailer invested more than £100m revamping its entire core range of Asda brand food. As a result, Chosen by yo is now the fastest growing mid-tier own label brand in the UK (source Kantar).

Chosen by you represents around 80 per cent of Asda’s own label food sales, equivalent to annual sales of between £8-9bn. Since September last year more than 6,500 products have become part of the Chosen by you range on the back of 325,000 independent blind taste tests completed by 53,000 representative UK shoppers in last 12 months.

Asda has also now integrated Facebook into its product testing programme, inviting customers to “Like” products online via

Since launch Asda has seen sales of bakery products rise by 10 per cent, ready meals are up by nearly 29 per cent, and yoghurts have seen a staggering uplift of more than 92 per cent. The retailer also received 17 awards at the Grocer Gold Awards held last week, including seven gold awards and 10 silver.

In February Asda also announced it was extending its push on quality into general merchandise with the introduction of a new premium homeware brand ‘Elegant Living’. The range of bedding, bath, cook and dine products has been jointly sourced with Walmart, enabling Asda to match the quality and style found on the high street, while offering customers prices up to 30 per cent lower.

Elegant Living’s microfibre and goosefeather pillows have proved a hit with customers, as have white bath sheets. A surprise favourite in the range is a marble toilet brush holder.

The range includes 100 per cent Egyptian cotton towels (800 GSM), 100 per cent Egyptian cotton bedding, 18/8 grade stainless steel pans*, and hard anodised aluminium pans with Teflon non-stick bases.

Posted in Press Centre on 17 May 2011
Press Centre
  • British homes are sitting on a £multi-billion fortune in unused old gadgets that can easily be converted into cash
  • Asda offers customers the opportunity to “cash in their digital chips”
  • Online trade-in service available immediately, in-store service launches in June
  • “Best Price Paid” pledge to beat trade-ins elsewhere

British homes are sitting on a mountain of unused gadgets worth billions of pounds, according to national Omnibus polling for Asda. The poll found that there could be at least 35 million unused old mobile phones. More than a million UK homes have five or more unused old mobile phones rattling around in kitchen drawers. The trade-in value of the mobile phones alone is estimated to be £700 million.

Old gadgets are prized for their refurbishment and recycling value. Refurbished technology is routinely resold in the UK or overseas. Recycled gadgets are highly prized by specialist firms that are able to extract rare metals and use them in other devices.

Based on the Omnibus polling, Asda calculates that there are 11 million old unused digital cameras, 9 million old PCs, 5.5 million old laptops, more than a million redundant Sat Navs and 12 million outdated games consoles in UK homes. The total trade-in value of these items amounts to several billion pounds.

To encourage households to cash-in on the value of their old technology a new electronic trade-in service is launched today by Asda, with a pledge to pay the best price for gadgets traded in. The new service will enable millions of customers to send in and trade their unwanted tech items for cash. And from June, customers can pick up envelopes in all stores nationwide to earn cash from their unwanted electrical goods.

Phil Stout, Asda’s Electronics Service Manager said: “We reckon that the average UK home has hundreds of pounds worth of old gadgets that could be traded in for cash. There are more mobile phones in the UK than people, for example, so there is a lot of cash out there waiting to be released. Our tech trade-in service means customers can now save even more on their gadget purchases at Asda or use the bounty to save on the cost of day-to-day living.”

From today, customers can trade in mobile phones, Sat Navs, digital cameras, MP3 players and portable games consoles online. From the beginning of June, Asda will offer customers the chance to trade in other larger electronic gadgets such as laptops, tablets and games consoles for cash.

The Asda Tech Trade-in offers a “We will not be beaten on Price” offer against stated market leaders – if a better price is offered for the same gadget by a listed competitor, Asda will pay the difference.

To use Asda’s Tech Trade-In, customers just need to go online at and find their item and get a price. From the start of June, Tech Trade-in envelopes will be in store for customers to send their electronic items for cash.

Phil Stout added: “By recycling, refurbishing or repairing these items we’re also helping the UK to become greener – meaning all that electrical equipment in your drawers can still have a useful life.”

Visit to find out more and trade in your electronics.

Posted in Press Centre on 16 May 2011
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Walmart today released its Q1 earnings for FY 2012, which includes an update of Asda’s Q1 sales performance.

  • Asda’s first quarter covers the trading period from 1st January 2011 to 31st March 2011 ie it excludes Easter and the Royal Wedding bank holiday.
  • Asda’s strong sales during Easter and the Royal Wedding will be included in Walmart’s next quarter earnings on 16th August.
  • Easter adjusted like for like sales (ie removing the benefit of Easter from the comparable January-March period in 2010) increased by 0.8 per cent excluding VAT, and by 1.7 per cent including VAT.
  • Unadjusted like for like sales increased 0.1 per cent for the quarter to 31 March 2011.

Doug McMillon, Walmart International President and CEO, on a conference call with analysts said: “Andy Clarke and the Asda team had a solid start to the year, growing sales in the first quarter of this year.”

Asda’s operating income declined from last year, however this was primarily as a result of the charge for the closure of Asda’s defined benefit pension plan and, to a lesser extent, acquisition costs for Netto. Excluding these charges, Asda’s expenses grew slower than sales under the We Operate for Less programme. Operating income was essentially flat to last year.

Doug McMillon added: “Our team in the UK completed its purchase of the 147 Netto stores from Dansk Supermarked in April 2011, which falls in our second fiscal quarter. We expect to complete the in-store conversions this year, investing more than £100 million and creating more than 1,500 jobs. Two of our leaders in the UK, Judith McKenna (Asda CFO) and Karen Hubbard (Asda Operations Director Supermarkets), have done a great job getting us to this point and we look forward to seeing the results of our conversions and integration. In fact, we have already opened our first three converted stores – Wakefield, Worksop, Stainforth.”

In the first quarter Asda increased its price guarantee to 10 per cent, and as a result almost three million customer baskets have now been checked online.

Doug McMillon said: “Asda’s commitment to EDLP comes at an important time for its customers who are dealing with the burden of inflation, taxes, and record petrol prices.”

Asda’s private brands continue to perform well, with its premium brand Extra Special and mid-tier brand Chosen by you ranked by Kantar Worldpanel as the fastest growing private brand across the top four UK grocery retailers. Earlier today Asda announced it had completed the full rollout of Chosen by you, and had now embarked on the next phase of its food quality investment programme.

In the last 12 months (up to 31st March 2011), Asda opened 12 new stores, and had a total store count of 386.

For more detail visit Walmart’s website

Posted in Press Centre on 17 May 2011
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Asda confirmed today it was exploring opportunities to franchise its George at Asda range in markets overseas.

It expects to announce its first overseas franchising partner in the next few months with the intention of establishing a small number of pilot stores in the Middle East in the first half of 2012.

The exploration of franchising opportunities for one of the UK’s best-loved fashion brands is part of Asda’s long-term strategy to grow its non-food business.

George currently accounts for around half of Asda’s general merchandise sales and is already a growing global brand through Walmart stores in seven countries worldwide.

Andy Clarke, CEO and President of Asda, comments: "George is a key driver in our ambition to grow our general merchandise businesses.

“True value for money isn’t just something on the minds of UK customers; getting the best quality at affordable prices resonates with shoppers worldwide. George is already a global business and franchising is an exciting growth opportunity for us in new markets.”

A team has been established at the George base in Lutterworth to establish, build and manage franchise partnerships. George will ensure it has commitments from its franchise partners to ensure the brand is sold and merchandised based around its core values of style, quality and value.

The George International team will benefit from the vast experience the franchise partners have trading successfully with many other global apparel brands.

This pilot is already providing employment opportunities in the Midlands. The George International team is currently recruiting for more than 40 new colleagues to join them at George House.

Posted in Press Centre on 16 May 2011
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UK families face biggest ever challenge as Asda’s Income Tracker shows inflation has reduced disposable spending by £13 a week.

  • £13 a week fall in family spending power compared to the same month last year – a further decline from the relative stability of March 2011

  • Sharp rise in inflation puts disposable income under significant pressure

  • Average UK household had £167 a week of discretionary income in April 2011, 7.1 per cent lower than a year earlier

The latest Asda Income Tracker has revealed that family spending power fell by £13 per week in April 2011, a significant fall from the relative stability of March 2011 when spending power stabilised at a £10 per week. The average family had £167 per week to spend in April – 7.1 per cent down from this time last year.

Read more and download full report
Posted in Press Centre on 22 May 2011