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George sales grow online

Asda owner Walmart has reported a 21.9% growth in online sales for its clothing line George.

Overall sales grew by 3.4% for the three months to 31 March, while like-for-like sales increased by 1% after adjustments for Easter, which fell within this time period.

Asda president and CEO Roger Burnley said: “Our Q1 performance – even when adjusted for increased sales from an early Easter – represents genuine momentum with four consecutive quarters of growth. During the first three months of the year, we have continued to invest sensibly where it matters most to our customers with lower prices, innovation in our own brand and further improving their shopping experience whether in store or online.”

Burnley said that Asda brought in 246,000 new customers in the first quarter and recorded online groceries sales growth of 8.3%.

He added: “While we are not complacent, we are positive about our growing momentum and excited by the opportunity that our proposed merger with Sainsbury’s PLC offers to accelerate our successful strategy and go further, faster.”

Asda highlighted an added focus on technology throughout the first quarter. Is introduction of Google Assistant enabled voice recognition for grocery home shopping, and it tested Walmart technology that allows click-and-collect customers to pick up packages in 60 seconds.

Sainsbury’s confirmed in April that it had agreed terms with Asda owner Walmart to buy a majority stake in its supermarket rival. If the purchase proceeds, it will create one of the UK’s largest grocery and clothing groups.

Walmart president and chief executive Doug McMillon said: “Recently, we took some strategic actions to further position our portfolio for long-term growth. We were pleased with the response of our colleagues in the UK following our announcement of the proposed merger of Asda with Sainsbury’s.

“We believe this proposed combination is good for customers and colleagues as well as shareholders. In the UK, we saw sequential improvement in the business as [like-for-like] sales increased for the fourth consecutive quarter. We continue to remain focused on improving the customer experience in our stores and providing value for customers by investing in lower prices.”

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