Our visit to Wembley this week was not to the iconic football stadium, but rather to the Asda supercentre. Though super in size (100,000+ sqft including a mezzanine which stocked George clothing range among other general merchandise), few aspects of the store measured up to the classification of ‘super’.
Wembley is a borough in Greater London and is a cultural melting-pot, with a high share of south Asian population (Indian, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans), and the store’s assortment and a high share of world food, is clearly reflective of this demographic. The store is about a seven minute walk from the nearest tube station (Wembley Park), and there is a Tesco Extra Neasden is situated 1.2 miles away (about a 25 minute walk/ an 8 minute drive).
Range: The store boasts a large halal section, alongside a large ‘world foods’ section, including produce from the Caribbean, Poland and India to name but a few.
Private Label (PL): While Asda claims to have 50% of its sales come from PL, we did not see a notable PL presence (apart from George clothing range, condiments, and perishables such as bacon rashers, etc.). Further there was no notable PL marketing within the store which would highlight the latest innovation in PL range or why shoppers should choose Asda PL over national brands. I believe Asda’s PL range needs an urgent update to make it compete aggressively with that of its rival retailers. PL proposition in the UK has also been impacted by 19 consecutive quarters of price deflation (as per Kantar Worldpanel), which has reduced the price differential between national brands and PL.
Asda has recently joined EMD buying (the biggest purchase alliance in Europe). Whilst the retailer hasn’t provided information around the categories it will procure through the buying group; EMD’s expertise lies in PL procurement. We believe this partnership could be critical in the retailer’s attempt to rebuild its PL credentials.