sainsburys boogie-520x320

Is the thinking at Sainsbury’s as joined up as it could be?

The latest Sainsbury’s “Food dancing” advertising campaign wasn’t to everyone’s taste. The POS in store seemed random and did not obviously connect with the aisle ends it highlighted. However, once the TV ads launched, the dots were joined. Sainsbury’s, rather than selling groceries, wants to sell an experience. An experience that brings people together and an experience that is highly enjoyable: cooking and eating.

Buying groceries in itself is a bit dull, let’s face it.

The in store experience can be more entertaining but ultimately it is what happens at home with the product you have bought that is the fun bit.

Sainsbury’s recognise that. They are building brand associations with fun in the family kitchen.

And it’s not just food.

Sainsbury's interactive outdoor ad

Tu Clothing interactive ads respond to weather

Sainsbury’s is launching Tu Clothing outdoor responsive ads which change depending on the weather. We all know how weather affects clothing sales and the challenge customers often face with fashion seasons being out of sync with British weather.

Playing with the fact that the weather is changeable in Spring, and showing clothing that is weather appropriate in the ad, makes TU clothing immediately relatable.

The caveat to what is, in our view, a clever campaign, is what the customer finds in store.

From advert to in store experience

We have challenged TU clothing in-store execution in the past and we are still to be convinced that Sainsbury’s aren’t leaving sales in the aisles by not addressing merchandising, signage and simple stock principles.

Reporting on Sainsbury’s Q4 we see that clothing sales have increased 5% which is ahead of the market. Very commendable for a range that is of high quality and competitively priced so we can only imagine what it could achieve if store standards were addressed in all stores.

We hope that the dots have been joined and that what the customer’s perception is of TU clothing after seeing the advert, is supported or surpassed in store.

Whether the campaigns succeed or fail will depend on meeting customer expectations in store. No advertising campaign can deliver sustainable growth if the dots are not joined and the whole operation isn’t working to the same agenda and timeline.

Sainsbury’s are also working to a cost cutting agenda and to date this looks like it is in conjunction with improving customer service. We feel confident that this will continue to be the case and yet there is still the niggling doubt that re-investment may be directed towards the ‘hot’ projects like Argos digital stores, Habitat when store standards are key to future growth in an unstable market.

clarks back foot

Is your retail strategy on the back foot?

Welcome to a week when retailers look back in hindsight and wish they had started the process sooner.

Clarks are reviewing their estate with a view to exiting sites that are no longer paying back. Asda are looking at another quarter of sales declines and are questioning decisions of times gone by, regretting being over-zealous when they trimmed muscle along with the fat.

clarks back foot

A retail strategy review is underway in both retailers, and will take them forward. The regret is that it is a reactive review and not proactive.

Hindsight is a marvellous thing.

The fact is it is typically when a retailer finds itself in a challenging position that we are called in. They are looking for an objective point of view and solutions to restore the business to growth, reactive rather than proactive. The back foot is an awkward position to push forward from and means you are off to a slower start and are playing catch up.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But then inevitably it does break. Retailers should be continually revisiting its retail strategy, tweaking and testing to move into the next gear. A static strategic plan, is a static retailer. It does little to prepare a business for the future and does little to protect a business from what will be coming around the corner.

Preparation is key. No, actually evolution is key.

A business that is continually evolving, re-assessing the market and its customer’s needs is one that will out-pace its competitors. While it will not be 100% right 100% of the time, it will be better prepared for change, more agile and more proactive. It will be a business that doesn’t put up barriers. It will be a business that is positioned for growth.

Our advice to retailers in a reactive position is to identify the problem, address it but be proactive from here on and build in regular temperature checks when the retail strategy is assessed and tweaked.

While the retailers in this week’s headlines try to push off from the back foot, we would welcome the opportunity to help you get onto the front foot and help you discover the value of evolving.

 

aldi_truck_2_shadow_2

Asda leaving market share on table for Aldi

Research published this week by Shoppercentric reveals that customers rate quality and service over price as critical factors in determining where to shop.

In the same week, Aldi reach new highs in market share overtaking Co-op into 5th position in the UK grocery market.

Coincidence?

Aldi and Lidl were in the right place at the right time, with discount prices on everyday grocery items. Price was critical at the height of the economic crisis and those prices were hard to ignore. Asda held their position well in those early days also benefiting from their price positioning.

In today’s market however quality and service are taking a lead. And Asda’s market share is still dropping.

Aldi have found a sweet spot

Prices are low, quality messages and premium products are evident and have traction and customer service is acceptable. What Aldi lack in time at the till, they make up for in friendliness and well stocked shelves with staff on hand and willing to point you towards your desired produce.

Asda have relied too heavily on price and haven’t been keeping pace with customer’s need for quality and service.

In the same Shoppercentric research, convenience stores saw the biggest gains (47% of shoppers used them in the past month – an increase of 4% on 2016) compared to supermarkets. Asda are in need of a convenience format if they are to regain lost market share. It is highly unlikely that they will launch a new format directly, but it has been mooted that they might buy a facia to occupy that space.

Asda can buy into the convenience sector can they buy quality and service?

Service can be addressed. Our productivity model has saved retailers millions of pounds already that has been re-invested into the business to support customer service and operations. It allocates resource appropriately across stores and schedules labour hours to maximise efficiency at store and department level. In store availability is improved, customer service is optimised and margins are supported through cost reduction.

What productivity modelling can’t do on its own is change organisation culture and quality perception. If there isn’t a customer service culture, change must come from the top and quality perception can come through marketing and an adjustment in key messages.

Aldi operates a model that Asda can learn from. Asda has brand equity that can be leveraged and together with operational effectiveness can deliver the growth that has been lacking. Naturally there is the temptation to look forward and guess how close Aldi could get to Asda’s market share. Closer than it is now is a certainty, but how close depends on Asda.

tesco booker deal

Tesco is Back

The Tesco we loved to hate has resurfaced with a surprising move to merge with Bookers Group wholesalers.

Tesco‘s confidence, while constant internally, is being shouted from the roof tops again. It is confident in its strategy and prepared to make bold moves. Once that meant buying up space to dominate the UK grocery market. It then evolved into buying retailtainment businesses to keep shoppers in store longer drinking coffee and eating out.

Reality hit and we saw the arrival of drastic Dave. Till now the drastic element has been somewhat tempered, it has been a steady incremental strategy until today. This is the biggest move of Dave Lewis’s tenure to date and one that has its supporters and its critics.

The key critic was non-executive director Richard Cousins who quit over the Bookers deal. He was in a “different place” to the rest of the board, according to Lewis. Perhaps his concerns have been played out across the media today.

Tesco secured a significant slice of the convenience food retailing sector

Subject to CMA approval, Tesco has secured a significant slice of the convenience food retailing sector, the sector that is experiencing the fastest growth. It also secures space in the eating out landscape, from coffee shops to Michelin starred restaurants.

The quiet success story of One-Stop is set to be played out with higher decibels in the coming few years, giving Tesco more than a foothold in convenience food retailing.

How will the grocers respond?

Morrisons took the Amazon route, Tesco the wholesale route, Sainsburys tried the discount route, and Asda, well what of Asda? Asda Christmas trading is expected to be weak, market share is slipping and they do not have any presence in the convenience sector. It will be interesting to see how Asda responds, but respond they must.

Sainsburys will continue to plough its own path, with online and convenience performing well and Netto binned. That said, Sainsburys do need to evolve in line with the customer to remain competitive.

The pros of the deal for Tesco are many

The pros of the deal for Tesco are many: scale, penetration into growth sectors, getting Charles Wilson onto the Tesco board, access to more click and collect sites. In fact it is hard to identify any cons.

For Booker, range and buying strength cannot be underplayed with this deal. It’s customers could also have access to Tesco branded ranges putting pressure on brands to compete on price. Marmite-gate anyone?

It’s a fascinating new chapter in food retail that is opening before us. Let’s not read too far ahead though, surprise endings are much more fun.

grocers christmas takeaways

The Grocer’s Christmas Trading Takeaways for 2017

We were all nervous but overall the grocery sector had a good Christmas trading period. We are still waiting for Asda to report which will bring the average down, but with the other Big 4 retailers all in positive territory there is reason to cheer.

Taking the discounters, Iceland, M&S food and Waitrose into the mix, we can see a few commonalities that are worth noting. (Sean Clarke, take note).

Premium

Aldi scored well on sales for premium ranges, as did Morrisons. Sainsburys has been the grocer to trade up to, but this year the grocers delivered a good enough premium range themselves to negate that need to go elsewhere. Sainsburys didn’t deliver a compelling-enough reason to coax shoppers away from lower prices and suffered a weaker like-for-like sales growth as a result.

aldi premium

M&S food sales growth was also at the lower end of the range. While the grocers have been developing range at very competitive prices, M&S have taken their foot off the gas. Waitrose delivered strong sales too, but Waitrose 1 which launched this year has helped add sales to the top line.

Takeaway: Premium sector is out-performing total grocery. Develop unique ranges building on current trends like free-from, invest in its branding and marketing. Don’t rely on price in this sector.

Availability

In our Christmas store visits we saw some shocking examples of availability with Morrisons topping the leader board. They moved to sales based ordering in 2016 which is never an easy transition and suffered as a result.

Morrinsons Christmas availability

Despite that they delivered a remarkable like-for-like sales growth. Imagine what it could have been if the ordering process had been further embedded. Waitrose too had patchy availability throughout the store leading up to Christmas.

The missed opportunity should be quantified and made into a screensaver for everyone in the businesses.

Takeaway: Quantify the missed opportunity each week from poor availability and use it as a motivator for process improvement.

General Merchandise

All the grocers saw a boost from general merchandise and clothing, building grocery transaction size with additional purchases whether it was a Christmas jumper of the must have toy of the season. Tesco saw a fantastic lift in toys, outperforming the market by 17%. Argos saw a 4% like-for-like sales growth which makes Tesco’s seem all the more remarkable at this competitive time of year.

Morrisons Christmas review

Morrisons had a very strong seasonal aisle and Sainsburys reported 10% like-for-like growth on TU clothing. This all plays into the supermarket’s core strengths: the space to stock broad ranges and in depth where needed and feature merchandising in store for key ranges.

Takeaway: Build on customer shopping missions and support them with ranges that are merchandised and marketed well. Don’t be tempted to try to increase range in convenience stores to take advantage of GM growth when it will compromise shopping mission.

Promotions

Tesco admitted that they lost sales to dropping the clubcard boost on general merchandise compared to a year ago, and Sainsburys all but eliminated promotions pre-Christmas.

waitrose Christmas

Meanwhile Waitrose did one day only timed category promotions that drove sales early in the season. These promotions were advertised on till receipts through the week. There was minimal incremental workload as a result as whole categories were promoted and did not have to be moved.

Takeaway: while a strategy that is based on EDLP is right for the market, there are seasonal events that need the lift to remain competitive. Remain flexible and consider mechanics that stay true to the strategy but also true to customer needs.

As mentioned earlier, Asda are yet to report but we envisage similar learnings to come from their trading update. Availability wasn’t always consistent, excitement and promotions were lacking and there is a gap where trade-up and premium could sit.

Christmas planning for 2017 will be underway already and these lessons will be taken on board. The landscape will continue to subtly shift in the meantime, the economic climate will see a not-so-subtle shift at some point, making it another interesting year of retailing. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Morrisons Christmas review

Supermarket Christmas Review 2016

With Christmas eve falling on a Saturday, and most supermarkets reporting their trading week from Sunday to Saturday, this coming week promises to be one of the biggest ever. In fact, most supermarkets will double the sales through their tills compared to a week in October.

We know the customer tends to move to the bigger sites for a one stop shop so it was timely to do a supermarket Christmas review and see how the supermarkets were set up for this big week of trading.  Here’s what we saw when we hit the aisles:

ASDA – Although troubled with falling sales this year and an eroded point of difference on price, ASDA are fighting back. We like the fact they have strong offers on the core Christmas shop. Having all the Christmas lines grouped together makes shopping much easier and they can show case their range. This could cause a bottleneck in the last panic days of shopping though.

General availability has improved, but there are still some problems to fix in household and pet. Service at the tills seems much faster, with plenty of people waiting to process your shopping.

Overall, our impressions was of a store in much better shape, but is that the result of the strategy or the fact there are less people shopping in their stores, so they are under less pressure? The one thing still missing is the ASDA fun shopping experience; unfortunately, it is still a bit dull.

Morrisons – Still getting to grips with a switch of ordering system, Morrisons core availability is struggling. Patchy availability in grocery, BWS and fresh will hurt them this year, but their Christmas and promotional areas are very strong.

Morrinsons Christmas availability

Market street, particularly produce, looks and feels well set up. Early in the New Year, high on the to do list is to sort the core availability issues out.

Waitrose – We like their marketing campaign giving the customer a day by day promotional calendar in the form of a till receipt. Knowing that Christmas dinner accompaniments were on offer last Wednesday did bring customers back into store. They range some exciting and interesting food products, but operationally core availability is a problem that still needs to be fixed. We saw significant gaps a couple of months ago, and they are still there.

Sainsbury’s – Set up this week is good but a bit underwhelming with the centre aisle lacking drama and the stores generally lacking theatre. Strong food performance has helped Sainsburys to stave off the declines seen at Morrisons and ASDA, and there is evidence food will continue to help them but it isn’t through price. The customer could get similar Christmas lines on offer for less at the other grocers.

sainsburys xmas16

We do think they are still missing a trick with TU clothing: the quality is good, and good value for money but the display and merchandising in store lets it down. Time for some real clothing experts to give this a shake up and get the return it should be delivering.

We do like the Sainsbury’s counters; the range is one of the best, if not the best of the big four. Set ups are good and consistent. Such a shame that in the stores we visited, customer service was let down at the checkout, slow and not enough tills open.

Tesco – Still heading back towards the dominating position they once held,  their focus on less peripheral business is paying off. Stores are full and checkouts well manned. It was also the best store for delivering Christmas theatre, with a great centre aisle or action alley, strong displays and Christmas music. The core offer is solid and there are plenty of deals on Christmas essentials and must haves, particularly the larger sizes. Checkouts were well manned and the staff seem to be happy and engaging. Tesco on a march!

tesco xmas 16

With the biggest week just kicked off, and the biggest shopping day of the year expected this Friday, it will be interesting to see who deals with the customer numbers the best. This Friday is predicted to exceed £3bn in takings. The customer can often be lured into a new shopping habits based on their experience this week, so while the lion’s share of that £3bn is nice, the potential for growth into the New Year is nicer still.

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Christmas on the High Street – Naughty or Nice?

The local celebrity has flipped the switch and the Christmas lights have been turned on. The High Street is twinkling but are the tills ringing this Christmas? 

We visited a selection of typical High Street retailers to see what they were offering to entice the customer into their stores this Christmas.

Fashion retailers have swiftly moved from Black Friday deals into pre-Christmas promotions that look remarkably like Sale. Clearly the weather will be the most used reason behind slow sales in the Christmas trading updates in January and with good reason. It has been exceptionally mild and retailers with heavy true winter stock need to clear it. If the weather man is right and we do get a white Christmas there will be some very happy customers out shopping. 

NewLook_Stamford_121216_2

In New Look we saw rail upon rail of jumpers and coats on sale with markdowns as deep as 50%. Heavy knits and long maxi fur collared coats are not very adaptable for warmer weather, nor are they very giftable. Being harsh, nor are they very fashion led. Hence the markdowns.

The Sale has been kicking off slightly earlier each year and this years feels earlier still. We are reading about many more fashion retailers going into sale this week so margins will be hit. Post Christmas will bring even deeper discounts and more stock being added but not enough to galvanise the customer to go shopping we fear, particularly if it stays mild.

There are a few exceptions. Everything in Fat Face could be bought as a gift. The brand has enough credibility and kudos to be giftable and the range has a winter wonderland feel to it. That said, the rails were well stocked and we do wonder how sales are against last year.

H&M is the other exception among our visits. In this case it is less about gifting and more about clarity of offer for a clearly defined customer at great prices.

HandM_Peterborough_021216_3

The product is attractive and works trans-seasonally, it is on the whole easy to shop, and ‘gets’ its customer. Yes, there are gifting ranges but they could be carried forward as pure Christmas product was limited to tight ranges.

Next also have missed the boat we feel. Fashionability was lacking as was quality. It feels like the offer has been product engineered to deliver margin but at the expense of desirability and representing good value. We have been big supporters of Next: strong operations, confidence in its offer  and promotional calendar but this year troubles us.

Away from fashion, most retailers have specifically bought Christmas gift ranges. WHSmith was notable in terms of its strong gadget and stationery gift offer at the front of the store.

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Range and price architecture ticked all the boxes and was unique enough to encourage the customer to buy it there and then. However, the depth of buy was weak; once it was slightly shopped gaps were evident. This was not exclusively the case for gift ranges either. Depth seemed to have been sacrificed in favour of breadth but without the luxury of space to merchandise it effectively. In fact we defy you to find the right colouring book on the shelf.

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The Christmas 3 for 2 gift offer at Boots was there again this year. A strong offer no doubt but at what point does the customer start to get bored of the standard beauty gift set? Yes it ticks a box but it is lazy, lazy for the customer and lazy for Boots. We must start to see something more innovative from Boots to bring the customer in. It it isn’t broken don’t fix it, sure, but be prepared for when it does break.

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Wilko was also reliant on the beauty gift set and meets the need of a different demographic. They supplemented the offer with a nicely priced gadget offer which was well shopped early in the season. As was their Christmas decorations. Range gaps had not been filled leaving empty space not delivering a return.

Wilko_Stamford_121216_7

Agile merchandising as ranges sell through is clearly not on the to-do list, and at this point in the season when there is still more than a week of shopping days to go, it is lazy store operations. On the other hand, FSDUs of tin foil baking trays and foil, aisle ends of greats value glasses, napkins and table mats was intelligent and was prompting add-on purchases in the store we visited.

In fashion, we will definitely see a mixed bag of results in January. Those that will have done well will be clear about the customer and have bought confidently with that customer in mind. They will have communicated the offer well and will have been agile in bringing ranges in front of the customer at key points in the calendar.

For general retailers the best will have bought clever and unusual gift ranges that stand well together but are not weather dependent. They will have been priced keenly for the demographic of the retailer and will offer a point of difference that makes the store destination. A product that could be picked up at Tesco and probably at a cheaper price will be sat on the shelf still in January.

Lazy ranging, lazy promotions, lazy store operations will cost the retailer dear.


For our review of department stores this Christmas go and read our blog. And watch out for our review of the supermarkets Christmas offers.

John Lewis Christmas 2016

Christmas in review: Department stores missing the point

Christmas time more than any other should be the time when we really get why great British department stores have survived as a shopping destination. This is when the shopping paradise of the department store,  all missions, all occasions under one roof, comes into its own. But does it? The format should resonate with time poor, convenience shopping missions but adds the theatre of Christmas and self indulgence. Yet this is not always the case and suggests flaws in the proposition for some Department store retailers.

Hats off to John Lewis who unsurprisingly come closest to the holy grail of maintaining a high standard of basic disciplines; good availability, clear signage, well thought through adjacencies, friendly customer service and fresh brands and ranges alongside established favourites.

John Lewis kitchen at christmas

Tasteful and cheerful Christmas décor and windows and the best and most shoppable Christmas department we’ve seen in some time project John Lewis to the top of the list. That said, stepping out of the Christmas thoroughfare to more utilitarian areas leaves you with a distinct lack of Christmas cheer, it is with too subtle high level decorations and gifting opportunities missed.

HOF1

House of Fraser pulled off a similar roll call of wins; the in-store teams managed the balance between friendly service and unobtrusiveness well, ranges were well laid out and availability was excellent. Where it missed the mark is for a mid-market shopper trading-up at Christmas, House of Fraser makes a confusing and patchy proposition, really strong in the good bits and badly let down by obviously unloved areas.

Each floor in House of Fraser feels like it is working independently of the others, putting together stables of brands for completely different customers and creating some very odd adjacencies in the process. There was not one customer who could successfully complete their Christmas shop there.

Gifting and Christmas ranges were tired and shoehorned in to walkways and atriums and category led departments such as eveningwear and coats were unloved and out of place amongst brand coups like The Kooples and Hallhuber. In the Oxford Street store, the tired customer has only a kitch afternoon tea for refreshment which after happily shopping strong menswear and womenswear offers, seems like a serious omission.

debenhams quirky christmas

Debenhams cycle of discounting continues apace with store wide offers on each of the occasions we visited. But behind all the 20% off signage we saw some real green shoots of a strong customer proposition coming together. The exuberant Christmas windows and in-store decorations were just the right side of quirky, giving the impression of a Debenhams committed to offering their customer upbeat and aspirational products at a price within range of the high street.

Christmas gifting at Debenhams was confident and abundant in contrast to generic product categories, where space was overfilled and rails overpacked with items only ever destined for the Sale. If Debenhams can wean it’s customers off the constant cycle of discount events, invest in shop floor staff engagement, reduce overstocking of the shop floor and maximise the opportunities left by the loss of BHS such as lighting and kids wedding-wear, this new fun, more confident approach looks promising.

selfridges Jarring Adjancency

The high end Department stores were much clearer in communicating with their target audience and more focused on delivering a tailored offer. Only Selfridges showed a wobble in this confidence – a desire to be everything to everyone meant some jarring adjacencies such as Lloyds pharmacy to Cowshed toiletries, or Mont Blanc to WH Smiths. Positioning in ladieswear and menswear was better, with clearly zoned propositions. The Selfridges customer is evolving though, top end brands serving as eye candy or for personal shopper experiences leaving the volume of trade in more contemporary, younger, more accessible ranges. This customer wants to feel every inch of the trade up but is still a high street customer too, investing in some key status pieces and enjoying the high end shopping experience.

Harrods was much more focused on true luxury with the exception of the tourist attracting Christmas and gifting areas. The super-brands and high end luxury floors all had customers shopping and browsing, a lot of the trade clearly coming from visitors making the most of the sterling exchange rate. The layout and store environment is appealing to the shopper used to the Middle East and Far East high end mall experience and the collection and curation of brands is confident and unparalleled making it the clear destination of choice for those with the budget to shop. This is a store that knows exactly what it is offering and to whom.

John Lewis Busters Garden

In summary, if the department store Christmas department is a barometer of confidence in Christmas trade this year we would only be backing John Lewis and Harrods. For Debenhams especially with its dominance in gifting this is a huge missed opportunity.

We would be advising department stores to be thinking quickly and honestly about the reason for being and what they can offer their customers to lift them away from the high street trudge and make themselves indispensable. Clarity of target customer will prove to serve John Lewis and Harrods well, the others lack that clarity and confidence and result in a patchy proposition that defies the department store proposition.

Whatever the budget, as a shopping destination these stores should feel special. By maintaining high expectations for your defined customer across all disciplines there is a huge opportunity to fulfil multiple shopping missions under one roof.

Paul Thomas retail consultant

CPC Strategy – Retail Trends and Predictions for 2017

Our Luxury Retail Consultant, Paul Thomas, was invited to contribute to CPC Strategy’s roundup of Retail Trends and Predictions for 2017.

Not surprisingly tech features heavily in future trends but as Paul says, while some will be heralded as the future of retail, none will be.

Read more here…

 

To explore Retail Remedy’s future trends further, read our blog post Retail Trends to Watch in 2017. If any of them resonate and are giving you cause for concern then pick up the phone and give us a call.

MW asda-store

Asda praying for a “Christmas Made Better”

Sales performance was significantly behind the competition reporting a 5.8% decrease in like for like sales for Asda’s third quarter. This has resulted in a market share slump, down significantly compared to a year ago, and puts Asda in a weak position as it heads into the lucrative golden Christmas quarter.

This is the ninth consecutive quarter of sales decline and the promise of a turn in fortunes is overdue. Project Renewal has yet to make a difference as far as we can tell but in a way, this is no surprise – an inward looking retailer will get the results it has always had without a fresh perspective.

It is early days in what has become a year of change in the board room at Asda, but we finally have a reason to believe that things will start changing. New appointments made from outside of Walmart will bring new experience and ideas into Asda, particularly when you consider that experience has been acquired at Co-op, John Lewis and Sainsbury. This might actually be the trigger for change, finally.

As much as the “Christmas made better” campaign lacks the blockbuster/tear-jerker/side-splitter formula so many retailers are adopting, the series of short sound-bite ads works for us. Each mini ad promotes a product or range that is worth heading to Asda for. They are almost old-fashioned, but they are simple, effective and memorable which is really the point, isn’t it?

Dodging the heavy price led messages of Black Friday feels like the right decision, bringing focus on good value through everyday prices suiting the demographic rather than getting drawn into what has become a fortnight of margin erosion and bringing sales forward. Talking of margins, Asda’s GP is reportedly holding up but with a weak sales line, profits are being hit. It’s all about volume for Asda now and that means traffic.

Asda survived the card reader chaos at the tills relatively intact given the magnitude of the problem and rode out hygiene concerns in delivery vans. But any further disruption to in-store payment or online purchases will only dent the already fragile sales line. We expect belt and braces approach from here on to prevent any further hit to footfall.

We get a sense of hope from Asda, and we don’t think it is unfounded either. But the bottom line is footfall. Traffic was down again in Asda’s Q3 so we are expectant of more to come from the management team to encourage that footfall. Price cuts help in the very short term, but are quickly matched or beaten leaving nowhere else to go. Asda can do better, and it is highly probable that they will do better.