Asda sales continues to drop but rate of decline slows

Walmart-owned Asda has reported a tenth consecutive quarter where sales have dropped, albeit at a slower rate than in previous months.

Asda: moved advertising and media agencies last year
Asda: moved advertising and media agencies last year

Parent-company Walmart reported today that Asda's net sales for the fourth quarter of 2016 declined 0.6% year on year, while comparable sales have dropped 2.9% year on year.

The figures are nevertheless an improvement in the beleaguered supermarket’s performance on the previous quarter in which comparable sales dropped 5.8%.

Acknowledging a challenging year in the UK, Walmart president and chief executive, Doug McMillon, told analysts during a quarterly earnings update that the problems were being addressed "with urgency".

"I’m glad comparable store sales improved during the fourth quarter, but we have a lot of work to do," McMillon added.

Asda president and chief executive Sean Clarke said in a statement that the supermarket has been working hard to sharpen its prices and improve ranges and availability.

Clarke added: "The hard work saw us welcome over 140,000 customers back to Asda this last quarter."

Last year Asda moved both its creative and media accounts into Publicis Groupe agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Blue 449. The accounts, which were at VCCP and Carat, were worth an estimated £95m. 

Two months later, Asda introduced James Martin as the brand's spokesman in its advertising.