The new depots are great news for the local unemployed. And for the environment: the distance travelled by Asda delivery drivers is set to drop by one million miles a year. This isn’t just green box-ticking, Asda’s fuel bill will drop considerably – a nice little win for the bottom line.
Prime Minister David Cameron has been quick to heap praise on the supermarket: ‘The additional investment and 5,000 new jobs announced by Asda today will be a real boost for the economy and more importantly for people around Britain seeking jobs,’ he said.
Between the new depots and the new stores, Asda is increasing its selling space by 600,000 square feet. The supermarket is hoping to close the gap between it and market leader Tesco. The expansion is timely – Tesco posted disappointing results last week and announced its first ever profit warning. Wal-Mart International CEO Doug McMillon believes this offers a ‘tremendous opportunity’ for the supermarket to take advantage of Tesco’s stalled growth.
There’s a little way to go yet, though: Asda currently runs 528 stores and depots in the UK compared to Tesco’s 2,715. But, as Tesco itself would say, every little helps…