Asda "held nerve" amid early discounting from rivals

Asda "held nerve" amid early discounting from rivals

Asda, the UK's second-largest grocer, has reported "a good performance" during what it described as a "very tough" Christmas trading period.

Ahead of a week in which rivals Tesco and Sainsbury's will report sales figures for Christmas, Asda provided a brief update, although without a like-for-like sales number, on how it traded.

The UK arm of Wal-Mart said its "simple, every-day low-price strategy" led to "record footfall" at its stores, while other retailers started promotions early, it said.

"This was a very tough December for retailers with price conscious customers leaving it later than ever before to buy presents and do their big Christmas food shop," Asda president and CEO Andy Clarke said.

"While some retailers hit the panic button early, at Asda we held our nerve and stuck with our simple strategy of no gimmicks, just every day low prices right across the store and online. It meant that customers trusted us to deliver not only on price, but also quality and good honest value. This translated into record footfall, both in store and online."

Asda noted 23 December was its "biggest-ever trading day" with 4.8m customers shopping with the retailer.

On each of the previous two days, Asda's grocery home shopping site ran up GBP5m (US$8.2m) in sales for the first time.

"We planned for 2013 to be an omni-channel Christmas for food and it was," Clarke added.

Asda will report its trading figures for the fourth quarter on 20 February. Sainsbury's will provide an update for its third quarter on Wednesday (8 January). Tesco will issue a "Christmas trading statement" the following day.