business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart-owned Asda Group is investing the equivalent of $155 million (US) “to relaunch its core food range, as the U.K.'s second largest supermarket chain bids to revive flagging sales and steal market share from rivals.

“The chain's revamp affects its mid-tier quality range of 3,500 products, 500 of which are new and being added to the range ... the company said the move is part of a ‘concerted drive to improve product quality.’ The group's three own-label ranges - 'Smart Price', 'Chosen By You' and ‘Extra Special’ - account for just under 50% of group sales, with 85% of that accounted for by the mid-tier range. The group said, 92% of customers pick up an own-label product when shopping in store.”

According to the Journal story, “Analysts say Asda has confused shoppers recently by running short-term promotions alongside its traditional focus on low price and value. In a bid to push the latter, it cut the number of in-store deals five months ago and later launched a price guarantee offering to refund shoppers the difference if they can find their groceries cheaper elsewhere.”

And Bloomberg reports that Asda “enlisted 40,000 customers to undertake ‘blind taste tests’ to determine quality and flavor ... About 500 new products have been added, while 1,000 have been reformulated such as jalapeno hummus, which was previously ‘too spicey’.”
KC's View:
Consistency is incredibly important, and that’s one of the things that Walmart always had going for it in its EDLP approach. It is instructive that even Walmart can take its eye off the ball ... and points out to all those who compete with the Bentonville Behemoth how critical it is to identify your message and work at communicating it - and living up to it - every single day.