Asda promises to create 7,500 new jobs

Andy Clarke, the chief executive of Asda, has returned the Walmart-owned grocer to sales growth for the first time since last year, boosted by improvements to its ranges.

The UK's second-biggest supermarket also revealed it is to create 7,500 new jobs next year, of which half will come from the 10 to 15 additional food stores it will open in 2011.

Following two successive quarters of sales decreases – down by 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent – Asda posted a 1.3 per cent rise in like-for-like sales, excluding petrol and VAT, in the three months to 30 September. Its last previous sales growth, of 4.6 per cent, had been in the final quarter of 2009. The return to form of Asda means it is back in the pack, in sales-growth terms, among the "big four" – although the recent reported sales growth of Sainsbury's suggests it is ahead of Asda, Tesco and Morrisons.

After taking the helm in May, Mr Clarke said that Asda had not been as focused on the quality of its food as it should have been, and the company relaunched its core range, Chosen By You, alongside a revamp of its Extra Special premium lines.

In the last quarter, the grocer was also helped by a continued robust performance of its George at Asda fashion brand and its introduction of the Asda Price Guarantee. This promises that if customers are able to purchase a basket of eight or more comparable products more cheaply at Tesco, Sainsbury's or Morrisons, Asda will give the customers a money-off voucher for the difference, plus a penny, which they can redeem the next time they go shopping at Asda.

Mr Clarke, who was previously Asda's chief operating officer, said: "After a particularly tough start to the year, we're pleased with the progress we're making. The new initiatives we have put in place – Asda Price Guarantee, Chosen By You launch, Extra Special revamp, plus George firing on all cylinders – are all increasing the number of customers coming through our doors.

"As we approach Christmas, we are in good shape and are clearly focused on delivering for our customers in three key ways: keeping our prices low, enhancing our quality and driving product innovation into our stores through the introduction of new ranges," he added.

Asda said that profit for the third quarter "grew ahead of sales, beating internal targets".

Following the relaunch of Chosen By You, which was supported by an extensive advertising campaign, Asda said its Lemon Daisy Cupcake was "the fastest-selling bakery line" selling more than 200,000 cakes in the first month, while its family lasagne had achieved sales 138 per cent ahead of those forecast.

Asda said the new jobs next year would come from a combination of opening new stores, the expansion of its home-shopping service and its conversion of Netto stores, where it plans to double the staffing levels, creating 1,500 new posts. Asda acquired the Danish supermarket group's 194 Netto UK stores for £778m in May, but four months later, the Office of Fair Trading forced it to offload 47 for competition reasons.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Direct Marketing Manager - B2C, Financial Services - Slough

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas