Asda to start reducing store opening hours
The modern world is busier than ever, and with suggestions that Sunday trading laws could be relaxed to allow longer opening hours to reflect our 24/7 society, news that Asda is actually planning to cut back on store opening hours could come as something of a surprise.
Currently, out of its 580 stores, 216 Asdas currently open 24 hours, allowing you to buy toilet paper and tortilla chips at 4am, should the need arise. Now, however, Asda has announced that it will be reducing the opening hours at 20 stores, where opening after 10pm is not profitable.
While no-one is surprised that the 24 hour opening was a commercial decision, rather than a public service, it is perhaps surprising that the remaining 196 stores do enough trade between 10pm and 6am to justify the cost of the electricity bill, if nothing else. That’s a lot of late night munchies.
While the full list of 20 stores is apparently still a trade secret, documents leaked to The Grocer suggest that the Eastbourne, Cumbernauld, Bury St Edmunds, Antrim and Horwich stores are affected. Who knew there would be clandestine breaking news in grocery.
CEO Andy Clarke said that 24 hour opening was still “important” to Asda, but claimed that click and collect lockers have “changed the solution for 24 hour shopping”. We don’t see how a locker is going to solve a late-night toothpaste emergency, however. 24 hour opening “still has a place in a proportion” of Asda stores, however.
While this is part of a wider restructuring of Asda taking place at the moment, which also sees 4,100 departmental management staff being subject to a consultation process as part of a centralisation move, is this actually a smart move for the supermarket. If you need to run out for something, will you make sure you get there before 10pm if you know the store is closing, or leave it until later if you know you have all night? Are all post-10pm purchases impulse buys by desperate shoppers? Or if you have to wait until morning, will you go to Aldi or Lidl instead?