Walmart's (WMT) U.K. division, Asda, has for the second year in a row decided to not have Black Friday sales. But can the ailing 'Big Four' retailer afford this strategy?
Asda has been Walmart's worst-performing division for several months, indicating only last week that U.K. sales were down 5.8% in the third-quarter compared with the same time last year. Sales in the second-quarter of this year were down more than 7% at Asda.
An Asda store in the central London district of Clapham was empty of customers, pictured, and sales at 7:00 am GMT (2:00 am New York time) Friday, with the only sale items on display being half-price toys, an ongoing promotion not linked to any Black Friday event.
A fierce price war is underway in the U.K. supermarket sector as low-cost competitors Aldi and Lidl threaten the so-called "Big Four" supermarkets - Tesco (TSCDY) , Sainbury's (JSAIY) , Asda and Morrisons (MRWSY) .
And Asda is losing the battle. Data released by Kantar Worldpanel last week show Asda suffered another embarrassing slip, with market share down to 15.5% from 16.4% last year for the 12 weeks ended Nov. 12, putting it firmly in third position.
Tesco has a tight grip on the No. 1 spot, with 28.2% market share, Sainsbury comes in second at 16.3%. Fourth-ranked Morrisons has 10.5%.