Asda expansion to create 4,300 jobs

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Asda, the supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart of the US, is to create a further 4,300 jobs through a £400m store-opening programme.

Asda, the supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart of the US, is to create a further 4,300 jobs through a £400m store-opening programme.

The aggressive expansion plan came as Asda stretched its lead over J Sainsbury further by announcing a 6 to 8 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the first quarter of the year. Food sales grew by 5 to 6 per cent, and sales of clothing and entertainment products such as DVDs did even better.

Asda overtook Sainsbury's last year as Britain's second-biggest grocer after Tesco and now contributes about half of Wal-Mart's total sales outside the US. Asda said its share of the UK food market now stood at 13.3 per cent, up 0.3 per cent on the similar period last year.

The 6 to 8 per cent growth in sales compares with a figure of 7.5 per cent at Tesco and 9.7 per cent at William Morrison, which acquired Safeway earlier this year. Sainsbury's is to update the market on its trading performance next week. The expansion plan includes four new stores and the extension of a further 21, starting with Asda's first purpose-built, two-level supercentre in Huyton on Merseyside. The other new stores will be at Poole in Dorset, Bridgwater in Somerset and Old Kent Road in south-east London.

And Allied Domecq, the UK spirits group, said its Dunkin' Donuts offshoot is to open franchises inside 10 Wal-Mart stores in the US. The move will increase the rivalry between Dunkin' Donuts and its US rival Krispy Kreme which has outlets in seven Wal-Mart stores. Shares in Krispy Kreme fell 4 per cent on the New York Stock Exchange.

It was not all good news for Wal-Mart. America's biggest retailer was fined $3m fine for violating environmental laws, allowing storm water to run off from construction sites.

Comments