Asda’s incoming chief customer officer, Andy Murray, has vowed to make revamping the grocer’s own-label proposition one of his “top priorities”.
Embattled supermarket giant Asda is scrapping to win back customers from discount duo Aldi and Lidl, whom Murray believes have “raised the bar” when it comes to the quality of grocery retailers’ own-label offers.
Murray, who is poised to join Asda from parent company Walmart, revealed his plans during a Q&A session at Retail Week Live.
He said: “We probably have room to grow our own brands from where we are for sure. Customers want great quality and I think Aldi and Lidl have raised the bar in terms of own-brand quality that we are seeing in the marketplace.
“We have to step that on and be very competitive in that space. That’s an area that I’m probably going to raise to one of the top priorities I’m going to focus on – are we offering good, better, best and what is the right option by category?
“Customers’ experience and expectations are going to be different by category and we need to work that out so that we are offering what we want.”
When asked which tier is the most important to get right, Murray added: “The volume is going to be in the ‘better’. You focus on getting that right first.”
Murray claimed that Asda had to rediscover its brand values in a bid to woo shoppers back into stores and admitted it had “lost focus” on what made the retailer “great” in the fierce battle with the German discounters.
He said the grocer needed to draw on its “assets”, including “talking about the Asda price” more.
Murray added: “The Asda price has real value to it and sometimes when you’re chasing the discounters you lose focus on some of the core things that made the brand great.
“The Asda price has real value to it and sometimes when you’re chasing the discounters you lose focus on some of the core things that made the brand great”
Andy Murray, Asda
“There are assets and an enormous opportunity to provide some leadership in those areas.”
Murray defined his new role as “creating tension within the company to do what’s right for the customer” and highlighted other priorities including revamping larger stores to go from “clutter to clear”.
He admitted that high SKU counts in supermarkets can “increase clutter issue and make it harder for customers to shop”.
Murray said that making larger stores easier to shop would be crucial, since “more people budget their time than budget their spend”.
But he insisted Asda’s burden of oversized sheds and lack of a c-store business would not hinder its progress, because “it’s not about the size of the box, it’s what they experience when they are in the box”.
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