Asda chief executive Andy Clarke said the future of retail is local and supermarkets need to be clear about the role they play in local communities.
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Speaking at the Retail Week Conference, Clarke said localism has a profound implication for all businesses.
“We need to be clear about the role we play in local communities,” he said. “Supermarkets can be the community centres of the 21st century.”
Clarke said being local means how supermarkets behave within a square mile of the stores will determine how successful they will be.
He said stores need to adopt the “broken window” approach, whereby if a broken window is fixed then it has a positive effect on the local community, rather than leaving it to blight the area.
He said the future demands “all of us to do more”.
Clarke said community, along with price and quality will govern the future of retail.
He said price transparency is the new order, and while some competitors criticised its price guarantee, some are now copying it but “they have some way to go before they match us”.
Since January, one million people have used the Asda Price Guarantee and 200,000 have downloaded its app.
On quality, he said some retailers are using premium branding to “drive prices up” but this is “wrong”.
He explained retailers should challenge the ethos that retailers know best, and give the customer more say. Asda’s Chosen By You range, which was relaunched last year, is tried and tested by its customers before it hits the shelves.