06/06/2005

Asda acquires 12 NI Safeway stores

Leading UK supermarket chain Asda is coming to Northern Ireland following the acquisition of 12 existing Safeway stores in the province.

The US-owned retailer has promised a modernisation programme and jobs creation as part of the deal, which is now subject to clearance by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Asda said the deal would ensure that shoppers in Northern Ireland no longer have to pay more for their weekly shop than shoppers in the rest of the UK.

“Unlike others, ASDA has made a commitment that its prices in its 12 Northern Ireland ASDA stores will be no higher than those found in its 279 stores in England, Scotland and Wales,” a company spokesperson said.

ASDA's president Andy Bond said the opening of their first ever stores in the province was a “very exciting prospect” and great news for local shoppers.

“For the first time we'll be able to bring real competition to Northern Ireland by introducing our great value and unmatchable mix of food, and general merchandise in the converted Safeway stores,” Mr Bond said.

David Smith, ASDA's people director added: "In the next few days a team of ASDA colleagues will be out on the road visiting every Safeway store in Northern Ireland to start the process of getting to know each other better."

As well as purchasing 12 stores, ASDA said plans to invest more than £30 million on modernisation and refurbishment over the next two years as well as creating 250 jobs by Christmas.

(MB/SP)

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