Asda launches into premium homeware sector

Asda: reported 1.6% rise in sales and a move into premium homeware market
Asda: reported 1.6% rise in sales and a move into premium homeware market

Asda has announced that it is moving into the premium homeware market with the launch of new premium brand Elegant Living, as well as reporting 1.6% sales growth in the final quarter of 2010.

The range, which it will source with parent company Walmart, will include 100% Egyptian cotton towels, 100% Egyptian cotton bedding, and kitchenware, as tipped by Marketing earlier this month.

The supermarket chain recorded a 1.6% growth in sales, excluding fuel, in the fourth quarter of last year, according to its latest financial results.

Andy Clarke, Asda president and chief executive, said: "I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made in the last six months. We have successfully extended our price gap to 10%, significantly improved the quality of our food across the entire store, and given our customers even better service."

Asda also claimed success with its January relaunch of the Asda Price Guarantee.

It said that 800,000 customers had chosen to take up its offer to refund the difference if beaten by rival supermarkets on price.

To date, 170,000 customers have downloaded the iPhone app for the offer.

It also extended its Chosen By You range, its own-label food range, with another 2,000 products introduced onto the shelves of its estimated 400 stores.

This included 250 "non-edible" grocery ranges.

Since October, Asda sales of Chosen By You bakery products rose by 6%, with its cake ranges rising 20%. Ready meals in the range were up by nearly 11%, and pies were up 8%.

In addition, sales of Chosen By You yoghurts were up more than 80%.

The retailer said that it had experienced a "good Christmas", with sales of its premium Extra Special range become the "fastest growing premium brand in the market over the quarter".

Sales of Extra Special Wyke Farm Cheddar increased ten-fold and Extra Special 28-day matured beef joint saw an uplift of 248%. Sales of Extra Special clementines also doubled.

In December 2010, 16.5% of UK grocery shoppers used the supermarket chain for their main shop, with "special offers" the most-cited reason for its popularity.

Asda also said that it had paid a bonus totalling £26.9m shared between its estimated 170,000 staff during 2010.

This is the 10th year in a row that a bonus has been paid to the staff of the supermarket.

Clarke added: "There is no doubt in my mind that the colleagues working in our stores and depots are the heroes of our business. They have worked incredibly hard this year to deliver the best for our customers – taking everything from the difficult economic climate, to the great British weather in their stride. I take my hat off to them." 

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