Asda sales growth slows after poor weather hits clothing

Asda has revealed a slowdown in sales for the latest quarter, as poor summer weather hit clothing and general merchandise sales.

The UK’s third largest supermarket chain revealed that like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, grew by 2.8% over the third quarter of 2023, compared with the same period last year, as it reported revenues of around £5.4 billion for the period.

However, the sales growth represented a significant slowdown after posting a 9.6% sales increase in the second quarter.

It came as the company was dragged back by a fall in clothing and general merchandise, which includes homeware and technology.

Asda’s 2023 Christmas advert stars Michael Buble, in the role as chief quality officer (Asda/PA)
Asda’s 2023 Christmas advert stars Michael Buble, in the role as chief quality officer (Asda/PA)

Like-for-like sales in the division slid by 3.4% year-on-year after it was “impacted by the unseasonal weather across this period”. Sales had grown during the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, food sales increased by 3.2% for the quarter, as the grocery chain hailed strong sales of its Just Essentials own-brand value range of products.

It comes after food inflation eased back in recent months, according to official figures, with milk, cheese and eggs among products witnessing reductions.

Mohsin Issa, co-owner of Asda, confirmed that the retailer has seen its own inflation rates come down recently.

He said: “Despite inflation easing slightly, we know that many families are still struggling, as disposable income for the average household is 10% down compared to two years ago.

“Throughout the quarter we have been focused on helping customers save money whenever they shop with us, and this remains our key focus.

“This means keeping prices low on the products they buy the most, putting money back in their pockets via the Asda Rewards app and passing on savings whenever there is an opportunity to do so.”

On Tuesday, Asda also told investors that it has repaid a £200 million loan facility used to buy 132 petrol stations and adjoined convenience shops. It has also reduced its total debt leverage.

Michael Gleeson, Asda’s chief financial officer, said: “Asda has a sustainable capital structure, strong cash generation and clear strategy to deleverage over time, as the early repayment of the loan facility used to acquire the Co-op business demonstrates.”