Asda asks for supplier payments as profits fall

Asda boss Andy Clarke has said the company will lead the UK supermarket industry in the long term, despite the firm posting the worst quarterly drop in earnings in its history.

The 5.8 per cent fall in fourth-quarter sales, which included the crucial Christmas trading period, was the sixth straight quarterly decline posted by the retailer and was the worst set of Christmas trading figures from the major UK supermarkets.

Mr Clarke said, “In the long run we’ll win in this market. Market share is important to us … But what’s more important is financial control and stability. That’s going to give us an advantage to win in this market.” The company has said it will invest £1 billion to help price cuts, but has recently been reported as requesting help from suppliers.

An unnamed source told the Guardian that suppliers had been asked for “significant amounts of money”, adding, “Individual suppliers are being asked for millions of pounds and asked what they want in return.”

However, the retailer said it wanted to work collaboratively and wasn’t asking suppliers to hit a particular price point. It also said it was working with Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon to ensure it complied fully with the code.

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