Asda to open 12 new stores and create up to 2,500 new jobs


Asda is to open 12 stores and create up to 2,500 new jobs in the UK this year, the supermarket giant announced today.

The retailer said it was investing £700 million in its outlets and online operations, as it also announced a 4.5% increase in total sales in 2012.

Despite the new store openings, Asda said it was shifting its focus away from its "bricks and mortar" stores towards "multi-channel" sales including click-and-collect services.

The investment figure given today - which will go into online, new and existing stores - was higher than the £500 million announced last year, but the number of new outlets was down from 25, reflecting the trend towards web expansion.

It comes a week after Tesco announced it was scrapping more than 100 major store developments as it admitted future growth would be focused more online.

Asda announced sales of £22.8 billion in 2012, up from £21.8 billion the previous year.

Chief executive Andy Clarke said: "I'm proud that in the continuing and very challenging trading environment we were able to increase total sales by 4.5% last year.

"This shows that we are continuing to get it right for customers.

"By focusing on their needs through accelerating our investment in the technology and infrastructure to make shopping more convenient, customers can shop for what they want, when they want it."

Two of the 12 stores opening this year are already trading - a supermarket in Larkhall near Glasgow and a non-food Asda Living store in Coventry.

The 10 yet to open include five large "superstores" and four smaller supermarkets as well as an Asda Living store.

But the retailer said: "While bricks and mortar stores are central to growth, the shape of its investment has shifted its focus to accelerating its multi-channel business."

It said it was making further investment in its click-and-collect services including a "same day" drive-through pick-up service on grocery orders.

Meanwhile, latest grocery figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed Asda's market share at 17.5% for the 12-week figure ending April 14, down slightly from 17.6% in the same period last year.

Sainsbury's market share rose from 16.6% to 16.9% while Tesco fell from 30.7% to 29.9%.

Stores at the opposite ends of the spectrum gained, with Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl all posting record market shares of 4.9%, 3.4% and 3%.