ASDA is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile phone network (via the EE network as of the 25th November 2013), Asda Mobile. Its head office is at Asda House in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
In 1999, Asda became a subsidiary of the American retail company Walmart and today is the UK’s third largest chain by market share after Tesco and Sainsbury’s. As of October 2013, Asda’s share of the UK grocery market stood at 16.4%.
Asda’s marketing promotions are usually based solely on price, with Asda promoting itself under the slogan Britain’s Lowest Priced Supermarket, 16 Years Running. As a wholly owned division of Walmart, Asda is not required to declare quarterly or half-yearly earnings. It submits full accounts to Companies House each October.
Asda Smart Price is a no-frills private label trade name. The equivalents from the three other big supermarkets are Tesco Everyday Value, Sainsbury’s Basics and Morrisons M Savers.
The Smart Price brand originated in the Asda’s Farm Stores brand launched in the mid-1990s, which consisted of products that were offered at a lower price than the equivalent famous name brand product and Asda’s own brand equivalent. The Farm Stores brand originally consisted of a small number of food only products, largely frozen such as frozen chips and a small range of ready meals, this range later expanded to include fresh food.
Smart Price products are almost always the lowest price option (known as Our Lowest Price) in a product category in Asda stores. Occasionally this difference is only a few pence, however in others it is a marked difference. For example, a box of Smart Price Biological Washing Powder costs 50 pence while the equivalent Asda brand washing powder costs £1.50 and well known name brand alternatives cost from £2 upwards.
The Smart Price label was originally a food only brand, however it has since expanded to cover almost every product range in the store, including clothing and furnishings with the George Smart Price brand. Like early generic products in the US some Smart Price products lack what can be thought of as ‘frills’ in the modern brand name or supermarket own brand, for example the Smart Price toothpaste has an old fashioned screw cap rather than the now more common flip cap and the Smart Price range of crisps come in traditional clear plastic bags rather than the foil bags common to most name brand versions.
In 2012, Asda changed the Smart Price Label to include nutritional information on the packaging and to match the branding of the Walmart Great Value line.
Asda has its own range of clothing known as George which was created in 1990. This is marketed as quality fashion clothing at affordable prices. Walmart also sells the George brand in Argentina, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, and the US (and in South Korea until Walmart pulled out of that market). The label is named after George Davies, founder of Next, who was its original chief designer. Davies himself parted company with Asda in 2000 and is no longer associated with the brand.
In 2005, Asda stated that the George range was a £1.75 billion business, including sales from Walmart stores in the USA and Germany. Mintel estimate that George is the fourth largest retailer of clothing in the United Kingdom, after Marks & Spencer, the Arcadia Group and Next.
Asda was the first supermarket to stock wedding dresses. Part of the George line, they cost £60 while adult bridesmaid dresses ranged between £30 and £35, at launch.