Asda draws its battle lines for Tesco tussle

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Asda is to open 15 new stores and extend 20 existing sites this year, in a continued effort to close the gap on market leader Tesco.
The £600m expansion plan will include stores of all sizes in the UK and create 6,000 jobs. Work began this week on Asda’s Supercentre in Milton Keynes, hitting the retailer’s target for 20 such stores by 2005. The 100,000sq ft development will require 1,000 new workers - the retailer’s largest-ever recruitment drive for a single store.
Other sites will range from 16,000 to 55,000sq ft - the largest the Bearsden store in Glasgow, which is set to be relocated. There are also plans to open five standalone non-food stores in the first half of this year, including a 26,000 sq ft Asda Living in Altrincham, Cheshire.
As Asda announced its expansion plans, US-based owner Wal-Mart reported its fourth quarter and final year figures, citing Asda’s total like-for-like sales for 2004, up by a percentage figure in the mid single-digits and food like-for-likes in mid single-digits.

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