Asda to go to war to attract festive shoppers

ASDA is planning an all out assault on the discounters this Christmas by offering a one stop shop for customers in what is tipped to be the fiercest ever festive supermarket battle.

Andy Clarke of Asda

The Leeds-based grocer said that customers have a lot more disposable income than in previous years and it is hopeful that they will return to Asda this Christmas after years of austerity.

At a Christmas showcase in London, Asda revealed its Christmas plans and said the big themes are going to be a return to tradition, luxury, indulgence and lots of show stopping party dishes.

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It hopes to trounce discounters Aldi and Lidl by offering everything customers need in one store, from a vast array of roasts and smoked salmon to champagne, dressed lobster and a Serrano Ham Leg which comes with its own stand.

In addition it has beefed up its George offering with the latest trends such as a black and gold dinnerware set, New York-style kitsch baubles, a wooden dolls’ house, a rocking horse and a £55 party dress, which is the most expensive dress it has sold in the George range.

Asda’s chief customer officer, Barry Williams​, said: “We can do something no-one else in this market can do​. The discounters have 1,500 products - we have 30,000.

“There’s no doubt that the economic indicators are a lot brighter than last Christmas. Customers have got a lot more disposable income.

“But the notion of a savvy shopper is here to stay and that’s good for us.”

​Asda ​said it will take the discounters head on over the festive period.

“We’ve got the best range assortment and the best value proposition,” said Mr Williams.

“The service part should not be underestimated. Our colleagues are a distinct advantage for us.

​“If you’ve got to step over discarded cardboard boxes and fight to get the products, I don’t think people want that.”​

​He also attacked the discounters for hyping products such as incredibly cheap champagne and lobster​ and then failing to get enough in stock to meet demand.

“It’s only value if you can buy it. We work really hard on that,” said Mr Williams.

“You can’t build trust if you’re advertising something and then people get to the store and they can’t buy it.

“The experience you get in some of these stores - the availability and service is not that great. If we treated customers like that, then shame on us.”

Asda said that customer feedback shows that people want a traditional Christmas.

PR director Russ Craig said: “Customers say they want British, they want local and nostalgia is a big thing. People want an experience.

“We think Christmas will be all about creating an experience and that’s good for us and bad for the discounters.”

Big food trends will be assembly kits for party food such as a beer battered fish and chips DIY kit, pulled pork sliders and mini British burgers.

For younger children, the trends include a return to quality wooden toys.

“It’s a rejection of technology and a return to tradition,” said Mr Craig.

* Morrisons said its Christmas focus will be on good quality food for every taste and budget.

Products will include a free range British bronze turkey crown with pork and honey-glazed chestnut stuffing, topped with dry-cured bacon.

It will also sell an in-store prepared Beef Wellington with fillet of beef and mushroom pate in puff pastry and a smoked salmon with orange and cranberry.

Desserts will include an M Signature raspberry and mascarpone dome and a profiterole cheesecake.