Blog: Dean BestAsda fires starting pistol on 2009

Dean Best | 2 January 2009

Thoughts turn to renewal at this time of year and it has fallen to Asda, the UK arm of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, to breathe fresh life into the price war engulfing the country's retail sector here.

Asda, the UK's second-largest retailer, has announced plans to slash prices across a range of products in what promises to be the first salvo of a ultra-competitive 2009 among the country's retailers.

Asda was one of the UK retailers to prosper during a tumultuous 2008 and today (2 January) the company insisted its stores were the places to visit for the country's cash-strapped consumers.

"Other retailers may try to confuse matters by reducing prices on a handful of products to steal headlines but every week at Asda customers will find at least 1,000 essential products at prices that have been rolled back,” Darren Blackhurst, the company's trading director, boasted.

With all sorts of gloomy forecasts being bandied about for the prospects for the UK economy in 2009, Asda looks rather handily placed to continue where it left off in 2008.

Where that leaves its retail rivals is a matter of debate. Next week, we shall see the first signs of how some of Asda's under-pressure rivals have fared in recent weeks when Marks and Spencer, the under-fire bastion of the UK High Street, issues its Christmas numbers.

2008 was a fascinating year for food industry watchers. We're just two days in but 2009 promises more of the same.


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