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Asda axes in-store refillable trials, due to ‘challenging’ economics

Asda axes in-store refillable trials, due to ‘challenging’ economics

Asda has pulled the plug on its store trials of refillable product stations as the economics of the concept was “too challenging”.

The grocery retailer had partnered with leading manufacturers in trials at four of its UK stores.

It said had experienced “operational issues and commercial challenges” with its approach to refillables.

“Our research showed that the key barriers which included cost, convenience, cleanliness, and perceived product quality have prevented customers from engaging with the refill proposition.”

Although work it did to improve communication around its refillable offer – including geotargeted social media ads, in-store signage and updated digital assets – did increase awareness, “the affordability of refill, customer uptake remained low”.

It concluded: “Refill, in its current format, remains too challenging for our business to scale and operate. As with any trial, we need to adapt and evolve. Therefore, we are exiting the refill trials in our four existing stores.

“Moving forwards, we intend to deliver new, scalable refill and prefill trials that build on our learnings and improve customer uptake, operational feasibility and commercial viability.”

Asda’s first plastic-free pilot store launched in Middleton, Leeds, in 2020, and two years ago it introduced a ‘refill price promise’ to ensure refill products would be cheaper than their packaged counterparts.

The grocer revealed in its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report published today that it had increased the proportion of own-brand packaging that can be recycled by 3% year on year to 96%, edging closer to its target of 100% recyclability by 2025.

Asda also reported that it had reduced scope one to three carbon emissions 7% on 2022 and 15% since the grocer first began reporting its full carbon footprint in 2020.

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