• Q3 like-for-like sales up 0.3% 
  • Company "pleased" with performance
  • Looking to improve clothing offer in store

UK supermarket retailer Asda is to invest GBP1.25bn (US$2.0bn) in lowering prices, improving product quality, style and design - including the roll-out of the George 21 clothing concept in its large stores.

The plans were revealed as the retailer - the UK arm of Wal-Mart Stores - saw its third-quarter sales growth slow.

Like-for-like sales climbed 0.3% during the quarter, down from a 0.7% gain in the second quarter, and a 1.3% increase in its first quarter.

Speaking at the company's third-quarter results event yesterday (14 November), CEO Andy Clarke said: "I'm pleased with our performance in the third quarter of this year. The market conditions are tough, competition is fierce and our customers' budgets are under intense pressure."

The retailer set out three strategic priorities for the next five years - investing GBP1bn (US$1.61bn) on lowering prices, and GBP250m in quality, style and design. It also plans to increase physical access to its brand from 53% to 70% by 2018.

Conlumino analyst Greg Bromley said the retailer is piloting its George 21 clothing range as part of efforts to improve its non-food offer in-store.

He added that the retailer is "facing increased pressure from both Tesco and Sainsbury's, and from the discounters, especially on price."