Asda taps
into its roots to 
mark 50th birthday

Andy Clarke of Asda
Andy Clarke of Asda
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SUPERMARKET chain Asda is celebrating its 50th birthday today, and the company has vowed to keep customers at the heart of its mission, as it faces intense competition from discounters.

Tonight, Asda will hold a drinks reception and canapes at Leeds Civic Hall to mark its half-century. The celebrations come at a time when Asda is facing significant challenges. The latest Kantar Worldpanel data showed that Asda was the worst performer among the big four supermarkets, but chief executive Andy Clarke has vowed not to resort to giveaways and vouchers which briefly boost sales but cut profits.

Leeds-based Asda’s growth in the 1960s was partly driven by the abolition of retail price maintenance, which enabled it to offer large, low cost supermarkets.

An Asda spokesman said: “We’re celebrating the 50th birthday across our entire estate, with celebrations of long service, 50th birthdays and cake decorating with our customers. The Asda Foundation will surprise winning community groups with foundation grants of up to £10,000 and with a celebration of cake with our cake bus.”

The spokesman said that the industry had changed over the last few years, and businesses could quickly lose sight of what they stand for.

He added: “So to make sure we don’t, we’ve refreshed our mission which remembers our heritage, updates it and brings it with us into the next 50 years. Customers are at the heart of our decision to refresh our mission. It’s no secret retail, and supermarkets in particular, are having a tough time and we’ve been speaking to our customers to develop our brand into something they can love again.”

Asda recently re-introduced the famous “pocket tap” advert. The celebrations include a video of TV magician Ben Hanlin performing “pocket tap” illusions in an Asda store store, which has reached more than 1.4m people.

Asda’s Yorkshire roots: