Retail giant Asda is no longer stocking Wii U consoles across its 555 retail outlets, dealing a new blow to Nintendo's bid to reverse the console's fortunes.
The grocer, Britain's second-largest, has suspended stock on all Wii U games, consoles and accessories across its stores, though eight products (all released during the Wii U's November 2012 launch) remain available on the Asda Direct website.
The Minworth Asda in Birmingham, which is the retail chain's largest UK outlet, told CVG it has no Pikmin 3 games or Wii U systems in stock. The customer services team was unable to find any of these products on its Asda Direct website.
An Asda representative has confirmed the move in a statement sent to CVG:
"Asda continues to offer customers a selection of Wii U games and accessories through Asda Direct, but these ranges are currently not on offer in Asda shops."
The retailer is not stocking 3DS systems online either - despite the handheld outselling the Xbox 360 and PS3 in the UK and across the US, while 3DS software sales are outperforming the competition too.
Nintendo has issued a statement to CVG, which reads:
"Nintendo UK does not comment on specific business practices with individual retailers. However, as we have seen with Nintendo 3DS, software sells hardware, and with titles such as Wonderful 101, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World already announced for this year as well as the recently released Pikmin 3 and New Super Luigi U having reached number 2 and number 6 in this week's chart respectively, we are looking forward to the year ahead on Wii U."
Update: Following the publication of this article, Asda has made an additional comment about its partnership with Nintendo, which reads:
"Asda will stock [Wii U] games on a title by title merit basis as they come along through Asda Direct. We will continue to support Nintendo as a format holder partner.
It is unclear whether Asda will restock the system or its games in-store in the future. Update ends
Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata has said he accepts the blame for the Wii U's sales figures, which stood at about 3.45 million by April. Pikmin 3 sales in Japan are thought to have given the system new momentum in the region.
"Because we're always trying to be unique, it takes some energies on our side to [make] people understand the real attractions about whatever we are doing," Iwata said in June.
"We have been unsuccessful in coming up with one single software with which people can understand, 'OK, this is really different," he continued.
Third party publishers have expressed a cautious approach to Nintendo's new system.
Though Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said he was "disappointed" by the Wii U's performance at launch, the publisher has committed to delivering six new Wii U games, including Call of Duty: Ghosts.
EA recently revealed it has no games in development for Wii U. Though it says it will restart development on Wii U games when it becomes a viable platform.
In May, CVG revealed that Nintendo is to begin a Wii U resurgence campaign towards the end of the year, spearheaded by a new 3D Mario game.
That title was later revealed at E3 as Super Mario 3D World.