You are here:

What next for Asda?

Three priorities for chief executive Sean Clarke

About this article

Sean Clarke’s career at Asda-Walmart spans 15 years. He has held a variety of roles, most recently chief operating officer of Walmart China. He became chief executive of Asda in July 2016.

These are tough times for Asda, with like-for-like sales struggling and competition increasing. Despite these challenges, Asda’s large, mainly young customer base means it remains a critical trading partner for suppliers.

Against this background, our senior retail analyst Chris Kirkland has identified potential areas for Sean and his senior team to focus on. Here, we look in more detail at three of those areas, and the opportunities we see for Asda and its suppliers.

Priority: price investment

Asda is an established price leader. Yet discounters and other multiples are threatening this position, meaning Asda’s commitment to everyday low pricing (EDLP) no longer makes it distinctive.


It goes without saying that continued investment in lowering prices will remain a key means of staying competitive in the current market. Asda’s ‘That’s Better’ campaign, offering cuts of 15% on over 1,000 lines from fresh produce to pasta, is a good recent example of this focus.

Source: IGD Research

Continued price investment will reinforce Asda’s strong identity as a price leader. The challenge, for suppliers and Asda alike, is how to convert customers’ strong perceptions of Asda’s low price position into action. This is particularly important as the consistent nature of EDLP can struggle to create engagement and excitement.

As a supplier, are you thinking about how to help Asda tell a more compelling low price story (one which celebrates the power of brands), particularly around events?

Priority: range rationalisation

Asda sees range detailed as a key way to make stores more relevant and easier to shop. This strategy also creates a leaner cost structure, allowing Asda to reinvest in price and other improvements. The challenge is how to remain distinctive and differentiate from competitors.

Source: IGD Research


Suppliers will need to work more closely with Asda, using more granular assortment analytics to understand the broader implications of range decisions. Suppliers should ensure that range decisions are revisited in regular category reviews, as part of the ongoing process. Also, expect to provide more convincing proof that your product deserves shelf space, to gain new product listings.

Priority: reaching more online shoppers

Asda sees e-commerce as a key way to reach more shoppers. This is especially important in London and the South East where it has fewer stores. Although Asda has slowed the pace of online development, it remains a vital part of strategy.


Asda is working with suppliers to get the basics of online retailing right, from imagery to product descriptions. Can you help Asda create cross-category solutions for specific shopper missions, like breakfast?


Source: IGD Research, Asda, Kellogg’s

For more detail on the priorities for Sean Clarke, click here.

Related information on

The IGD Sainsbury's Trade Briefing 2017

The IGD Sainsbury's Trade Briefing 2017 will take place in London on Tuesday 13 June. This is a crucial event for Sainsbury's suppliers.

Brexit and economics

The latest Brexit and economic insight from IGD

Gain insight on Brexit, economic and strategic issues currently facing the grocery industry.

IGD newsletters

Get the latest industry news and insights straight to your inbox with our range of newsletters.

View our in-depth retailer profiles here

In-depth retailer insight

Looking for information on a specific retailer? IGD Retail Analysis covers over 400 retailers, each with performance data coverage from our Datacentre. Many of these have a profile regularly updated by our in-house analysts. They include retailer company information, store visits, in-store photos, financial performance, store portfolio, SWOT analysis, trading activities, marketing and more.


Do you have any specific queries about the food and grocery industry? If you're an IGD member or a subscriber to our online services you can ask our experts.