Brexit takes a bite out of Asda first-half sales

Walmart’s Leeds-based subsidiary Asda has reported a like for like sales decline of 0.3% for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year.

Asda CEO Roger Burnley said: “If ever a case study on the impact the mood of the nation has on UK spending habits were needed, this quarter has provided it.

“Consumer confidence levels are at an almost six-year low – due in no small part to the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and amplified by the impact of weather and tracking against national sporting events in the same period last year.

“As a result our non-food business has been challenged during the period, however we’re satisfied that our food business has continued to perform well and our online growth continues to outpace the market.”

Reporting on a straight calendar quarter, which includes a benefit of the later Easter in 2019, Asda delivered a 0.5% like-for-like sales growth excluding petrol over the second quarter of 2019.

This completed the first half year reporting for the UK’s third largest supermarket, capturing Easter in both years — and saw like for like sales decline of 0.3% compared to the same period last year.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, commenting on the UK market, said: “Turning to the UK our results for the quarter reflect the challenges faced by shoppers in this market as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues to loom.”