Asda review sparks BWS initiatives

Asda’s new BWS category director has pledged to introduce a raft of “category-changing” initiatives which could see off-licence managers employed in stores.

In his first interview since taking the top job in January, Adrian McKeon told OLN that a series of reviews are underway to examine how the retailer sources and sells alcohol.

This summer, Asda will roll out electronic wine selectors across the 378-strong estate to help guide shoppers.

McKeon said touch-screen technology would allow shoppers to browse wine by price and taste, and offer food matches.

He added: “Consumers can either scan bottle barcodes or the machine will print a coupon giving the wine’s details, which can be kept as a reminder for repeat purchase if they liked it.”?As part of the move to inform consumers at the point of purchase, he said the retailer was considering installing off-licence managers to advise shoppers.

A project to assess how Asda lays out the alcohol fixture in-store is due to be completed within a year and includes research into merchandising wine by style rather than country.

Before the end of this summer, McKeon plans to unveil the results of a second study into maximising efficiencies in wine supply “from vineyard to the shelf”, focusing on issues such as UK bottling and sustainable packaging.

But he was tight-lipped about what impact it may have on supplier numbers.

“The changes we are considering making will involve a supplier strategy review, although that doesn’t necessarily mean an overhaul of the supply base,” he said.

A third piece of work is also analysing the retailer’s own-label wines, which McKeon said would be reduced to simplify the range.

“We’re reviewing own-label, which we think is a vital part of how people see your wine offer. We want to simplify the offer. At the moment it makes up 18% of our sales, so it underperforms.”