Asda is to reinstate its famous ‘pocket tap’ in TV ads to consolidate its appeal to value-conscious shoppers nostalgic for reassurance in the uncertain economic climate.

The Wal-Mart-owned retailer last featured the pocket-slap 18 months ago but will reintroduce it over the next couple of months.

Asda director of marketing strategy, Jon Owen, said: “There’s no better mnemonic for saving money than the pocket tap.” The revival follows hard on the heels of a new marketing tagline, “Saving you money every day”, introduced in January.

Asda posted fourth quarter comparable sales growth of 7.2 per cent, bringing the full-year total to 6.5 per cent.

Chief executive Andy Bond said it had been a “vintage year” as the business beat internal targets, outperformed in key categories, and increased customer numbers – most notably in the south of England – to 17.7 million in 2008 from 16.9 million in 2007. “We’re broadening appeal to be a store for all shoppers,” he said.

Owen said customer buying-habits at Asda and across retailing show “a strong shift towards nostalgia”, evidenced by strong sales growth of products such as Bird’s custard, Heinz beans and traditional games such as snakes and ladders.

He said sales of brands were outpacing own-label – up 10 per cent and eight per cent respectively at Asda in the 12 weeks to end-January.

Although optimistic about prospects for this year, Bond warned that the key issue would be confidence. Despite shoppers soon having more money than they did a year ago, fear of unemployment could curb spending.

He said: “The dynamics are fundamentally changing. We are in a time of concern and fear. People will only spend on things that give them transparent value. Retailers have an increasing obligation to deliver and communicate real value to customers.”

He said greater supermarket competition would help and called on the Government to relax restrictive rules that hold development back.

“I have tens of millions of pounds that we are unable to invest in new store opportunities that would create jobs and value for shoppers,” Bond said.