22/02/2007

ASDA Stores Help Deliver 8,000 New Jobs

ASDA is creating 8,000 news jobs and building a minimum of 18 new stores across the UK this year.

In addition, it is to carry out major extensions and improvements to 15 of its existing stores and roll out the successful non-food format 'ASDA Living' to a further 10 sites within the next 12 months.

News of the expansion was announced by ASDA President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Bond after the release of parent company Wal-Mart's full year financial results.

In addition, ASDA will be opening its first ever Living store in Belfast on Friday 23 February. The new 41,000sq ft store will be the first ASDA non-food format to launch in Northern Ireland.

ASDA Chief Financial Officer Judith Mckenna said: "This is a major investment which will enable ASDA to provide even better service and great value products to more people across the UK than ever before."

Over 4000 new jobs will be created by the new store build programme alone. An additional 2000 new jobs will be created through ASDA's new 'Seasonal Plus Scheme' providing customers and colleagues with extra help during peak trading periods. These new jobs will be spread across all of ASDA's 334 UK stores. And a further 2000 new jobs will be created through organic growth across the company.

The acceleration of the ASDA Living programme will play an integral part in ASDA's growth this year, with a further ten stores planned - the first sites are to open in Belfast later this week, followed by Oldham in April.

ASDA will also launch its first ecologically sensitive store format with the launch of a timber framed superstore in Shaw near Oldham. The unique design, which marks the first stage in ASDA's new energy efficient store build programme, is built on the site of Shaw mill, using bricks and timber from the original building.

The 35,000 sq ft store will also trial a new natural ventilation system - north lights - reducing energy consumption considerably. As a result, this new specification ASDA store will be 20% more energy efficient than existing stores in the supermarket chain.

Expansion plans for 2007 include, amongst others, new stores in Walsall, Shaw, Girvan, Ardrossan, Folkestone, Wishaw, Tonypandy, Highbridge and Seaham.

Eniskillen and Strabane will both benefit from store re-sites.

(CD)

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