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Wal-Mart announces push to expand Asda


Leeds, England Wal-Mart Stores outlined ambitious plans to grow its United Kingdom-based Asda operations during the next five years with a goal of becoming the market leader in general merchandise and clear No. 2 for food.

“It’s time for us to open a chapter in the Asda story, enabling us to become an even better food retailer; a broader non-food retailer and a leader in e-commerce,” said Andy Bond, president and CEO, Asda, in a statement.

The company plans call for the opening of 100 smaller-format supermarkets and the expansion of its non-food Asda Living format to 150 locations.

"Our small stores are proving popular with customers, as they can complete a full weekly shop, while still taking advantage of our market leading low prices,” Bond said.

Asda will open its 25th Asda Living on Friday, in Telford, Shropshire.

“We've taken our time to get the model right, and wait for the market conditions to be favorable,” Bond said. “We're now ready to accelerate our opening program.”

Asda also said it plans to leverage Wal-Mart’s global scale, including the acquisition of International Produce Limited. Former Asda food director Nick Scrase has been appointed to head up the international food import business.

"Thanks to Walmart, we have a unique opportunity to remove middle men from the global supply chain to lower costs," Bond said. "We believe that the creation of global merchandising centers, be that in food, non-food or apparel, will enable us to save our customers money."

Separately, Bond told investors at a conference that it was his decision to leave his role as president and chief executive of Asda to become chairman of the supermarket chain's executive committee.

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