Supermarket giant Asda will create up to 12,000 UK shop posts over the next five years, its US owner WalMart said as chief executive Doug McMillon met PM David Cameron in an Asda at Clapham Junction this morning.
‘A seismic shift in the structure of the retail market is underway – not just in the UK – but right across the world,’ McMillon said. ‘We know that the UK is a great place to do business and since Walmart acquired Asda 15 years ago we have been able to invest £8bn in the UK economy – creating over 100,000 jobs, opening 342 new Asda stores and bringing lower prices to millions of customer.’
'I am delighted that Asda is continuing to invest heavily in the UK, creating another 12,000 jobs that will give people financial security for the future,' Cameron added.
Like the other chains which make up the UK’s top four supermarkets, Asda is battling to keep ahead of rival budget stores such as Lidl and Aldi. Together, both discounters now account for 7.3% of sales, up 1.3% from last year, according to figures from Kantar.
Asda is currently on a £1bn investment plan to reach more customers. It plans to spend £750m this year opening new stores, and will invest £200m into lowering prices. Late last year Asda announced plans to let customers collect their shopping from London tube stations to capitalise on shoppers' increasing demand for ‘click-and-collect’ options.
The grocer will also focus on expanding its reach beyond London and the south east, as it aims to increase physical access to its brand from 53% to 70% by 2018.
It comes after sales for 2013 rose just 0.5% and CEO Andy Clarke said it had been ‘a tough year’.