Asda has revealed a new strapline, ‘Pocket More’, indicating that it will not stray from the marketing tactic of trying to differentiate on price despite posting a drastic fall in like-for-like sales of 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Over the next five years, Asda will invest some £1bn into lowering prices. It’s part of a strategy dubbed ‘Project Renewal’ which chief executive Andy Clarke believes will give it the advantage over its ‘Big Four’ competitors as well as stay on the heels of Aldi and Lidl.
However, while price continues to be a contentious topic, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have all made efforts to move away from simply shouting about their cheaper goods at increasingly promiscuous shoppers and instead used their marketing spend to highlight improvements to customer service (like Tesco) or inspire people to think a little differently about the items they regularly buy (see Sainsbury’s 'Little Twist' campaign).
In contrast to Asda, Morrisons and Tesco both beat analyst expectations in the crucial fourth quarter while Sainsbury's saw sales fall just 0.4 per cent over the same period.
Despite this Asda will clearly not stray from the tried and tested, and today (18 February) rolled out a campaign under the ‘Pocket More’ banner claiming lower prices than its rivals on over 1,000 products.
“We have identified what we have to do to reposition the business to recover sales and have already taken decisive action through Project Renewal. The first phase of the price investment we announced in January has kicked in today with ’Pocket More’ to make us lowest price on a further 1,600 lines compared to Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – and there’s more to come,” said Clarke at an event in London.
“Our strong financial position has allowed us to take bold and fundamental decisions about the way we need to run the business. We have taken control of our own destiny and are not at the mercy of market pressures or whatever our competitors feel is necessary. While I am cautiously optimistic that our sales will gradually improve, it won’t happen overnight given that 2016 is likely to be another tough and competitive year for the sector as a whole.”
Changes to the brand's marketing strategy could yet come, however, under new marketing and chief customer officer Andy Murray, who took on the role from Barry Williams this week. Murray will lead a streamlined team following a head office cull earlier this year.
Overall, Asda saw sales fall 4.7 per cent over the year as a whole. Meanwhile parent company Walmart's sales rose 0.6 per cent over the fourth quarter.