UK: ASDA'S OPEN PLAN.

UK: ASDA'S OPEN PLAN. - With dwindling customers and mounting debts Asda looked ready to close its doors. Now almost five years later it is very much open for business, with a management team that claims to listen to the needs of both customers and staff

by Anita van deVliet.

With dwindling customers and mounting debts Asda looked ready to close its doors. Now almost five years later it is very much open for business, with a management team that claims to listen to the needs of both customers and staff.

When Archie Norman was invited to become chief executive of the Asda superstore chain in late 1991, customers were dwindling, the share price was plummeting, the stores were falling into disrepair and the staff into despair. Effectively bankrupt, the group had been limping along with £1 billion-worth of debt and without a chief executive for several months; and the commentators were dubious that anyone of merit would take on the unenviable job of trying to rescue this run-down also-ran.

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