Profits for the same period also grew ahead of sales, beating internal targets.
Sales through the asda.com website grew 30%. Earlier today Asda announced the expansion of its home shopping service as part of a four pronged expansion plan to maintain the pressure on rival Tesco.
CEO Andy Clarke says the relaunch of the core mid-tier ’Chosen by You’ range and increased activity around the Asda Price Guarantee led to a four-fold increase in weekly comparisons.
“After a particularly tough start to the year we’re pleased with the progress we’re making,” says Clarke. “The new initiatives we have put in place, plus George firing on all cylinders, are all increasing the number of customers coming through our doors.”
The price guarantee, launched in April and backed by television and press advertising, marked a shift in strategy. In May, Wal-Mart international chief marketing officer Rick Bendel defended the move in an exclusive interview with Marketing Week, saying it will turn around the supermarket’s slowing growth.
Clarke says that with Christmas approaching Asda is “in good shape”, with a focus on keeping prices low, enhancing quality and driving product innovation.
Asda has introduced dozens of new products into its Extra Special range this year in time for Christmas. During October it also gave customers the opportunity to try Extra Special products for the first time by offering them 25% for three weeks.
Andy Clarke adds: “The Extra Special event was a huge success, and drove incremental sales. Our premium range is in good shape and customers are responding well to the new products we’ve introduced this year.”
Dozens of new products are set to be introduced in time for Christmas.
“Significant” cuts in the price of core commodities like milk also helped, says Clarke. Price wars over milk have been a mainstay of UK retail for a number of years. The future of the UK milk chain is being debated today as the National Farmers Union and the Women’s Institute join forces for their Mission Milk campaign – a follow up to the Great Milk Debate campaign of 2007.