Hard Discounters vs Big Four UK Grocers: Asda Case Study

Former Vice President, Fresh, Frozen & Chilled at Asda and former Buying Director, Iceland Foods

Why is this interview interesting?

  • Asda's historical customer value proposition (historical KPIs through which Asda operationalized its customer proposition and measured performance)
  • Asda's approach to price positioning in 2010: how Asda had lost touch with its price leadership proposition versus Aldi and Lidl
  • Mainstream retailers vs the hard discounters in the UK: how the UK grocery retail industry is still struggling to grasp the impact of the hard discounters on the market
  • How to stop a discounter: from the perspective of a mainstream retailer, why price is such an important variable when competing with a discounter and how price re-basing and profitability re-basing is the surest way to stop a discounter from taking market share
  • Competing against hard discounters: a perspective on the disadvantages of being publicly listed

Executive Bio

Karl Martin

Former Vice President, Fresh, Frozen & Chilled at Asda and former Buying Director, Iceland Foods

Karl has spent the majority of his career in food retailing, joining Sainsbury’s after graduating in the mid 1980s to work in the trading department. He joined Iceland in 1992 to eventually become trading director, responsible for all buying, with a position on the board of the company. After 5 years in senior commercial positions at UK facilities management business Sodexo, in 2010 Karl joined Asda, the UK’s second largest food retailer, to run the food trading team. At Asda he was responsible for fresh food, chilled food and frozen, categories with combined revenue of ~GBP 8bn and gross profit of ~GBP 3bn. Since leaving Asda Karl has taken on a range of consultancy roles, including a year working for Sainsbury’s Netto discounter concept, where he gained deep insight into the discounter retail format. Read more

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Interview Transcript

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