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Asda chief ready to open fire on rivals after shunning Black Friday

| International retailers

Asda’s decision not to hold a Black Friday sale was “one of the best decisions we’ve made this year”, according to Andy Clarke, the group’s Chief Executive, who said his chain was now ready to open fire on rivals during the crucial run-up to Christmas.

Speaking to Mail on Sunday, Clarke said that many retailers have been left with unsold stock after the much-celebrated promotional event. “That suggests a lot of demand shifted online and I wouldn't like to be holding on to that unsold, marked-down stock at this point,” he said. 


Having kept his powder dry, Clarke said Asda was ready to open fire on rivals during the festive trading period with a series of price cuts and promotions. “What we saved we're now putting into deals right through to Christmas. We're spreading the benefit.” 

The decision not to cut prices on Black Friday was part of the group’s wider strategic position to remain focused on maintaining profitability even if that means lower sales. “We're making some very deliberate choices about the stability of our commercial position and that's allowing us to make choices for the long term,” Clarke told the Mail on Sunday. 

Highlighting the Big Four’s loss in market share to the discounters, he said: “You can try to defend that share in the short term or else take a long-term view that buying sales and market share isn't going to be long-term sustainable.” 

“It's happening already – one of the big four has just dropped from the FTSE 100 to the FTSE 250,” he said, referring to Morrisons recent relegation from the prestigious index last week after a prolonged period of weak performance. “Protecting short-term market share wouldn't appear to be a measure for success on that basis,” said Clarke.

 

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