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Asda first-quarter like-for-likes tumble 3.9% in tough market

The decline compared with a fall of 2.6% in the fourth quarter, and a 1% fall in its last financial year – the first time in six years that the supermarket giant’s full-year like-for-likes dropped.

According to Retail Week, the big four are struggling in the face of the discounters and deflation, with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons posting sales declines over recent quarters.

Despite the disappointing results for the quarter ending April 19 2015, Asda boss Andy Clarke said he remains committed in its five-year strategy and will not “knee-jerk at the expense of long-term profitability”.

Clarke also said 2015 was proving to be the most challenging year yet for traditional supermarkets.

He said: “This last quarter has been unprecedented. We have seen deflation in the market and exponential shifts in the industry.

Although I still believe that 18 months ago we did a great job of predicting changes, we could not have foreseen what’s happened to others and the moves they have had to make in order to restore their business – creating an impact on us in the short-term.

“Whilst I take no pride in reporting a negative number, we are in a period of expected turbulence, not distress. We won’t buy short-term sales at the expense of long-term profitability. Throughout this period of change in our sector, Asda has been first to market with its response.

“Fundamentally, Asda remains a balanced, healthy sustainable business with a clear direction allowing us to hold our nerve and remain focused on delivering for our customers.”

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